AIR Analysis Sees Minimal Damage in Mexico from TS Arlene

June 30, 2011

Dr. Tim Doggett, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide, has analyzed the possible impact of Tropical Storm Arlene, and its heavy rainfall in Central Mexico.

He indicated that the “greatest threat for heavy rainfall will be in areas of elevated terrain north of Arlene’s storm track, including Tampico, which is currently 45 miles [72 kms] north-northwest of the storm’s center. Despite the potential damage to property caused by flooding, farmers will welcome the rainfall, as Mexico is in the midst of a severe drought. Drought stricken south Texas is also expected to experience rainfall from Arlene.”

Doggett explained that in Mexico, “insured residential properties are largely of confined masonry construction, while insured commercial properties are overwhelmingly of confined masonry and reinforced masonry. Against Arlene’s wind speeds, both construction types should fare well; structural damage from wind should be minimal.

“Indeed minimal damage has so far been reported,” he continued, “although poorly constructed homes and other structures may experience minor damage to roof and wall claddings. Meanwhile, the flooding that results from Arlene’s precipitation may cause minimal damage to masonry structures—which are pervious to water and also characterized by weak connections between building elements.”

AIR added: “Given the combination of Arlene’s tropical storm force wind speeds, the fact that it made landfall along a relatively sparsely populated stretch of the coast, and low insurance penetration in the region, AIR does not expect significant insured losses from this event.”

Source: AIR Worldwide

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