Typhoon Neoguri to Skirt Okinawa; Nears Kyushu Landfall: AIR Analysis

July 8, 2014

According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, at about 6:30 am local time today, Typhoon Neoguri—the strongest typhoon to date in 2014—is “roaring toward Japan with sustained winds of 180 km/hr [112 mph] and gusts above 250 km/h [155 mph].”

The storm is expected to pass west of Okinawa during the next 24 hours, and is projected to make landfall on Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island, on Wednesday or Thursday.

Jason Butke, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide, described Neoguri as a “large storm with the strength of a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, Neoguri will impact a wide area and is expected to result in extremely high waves, potentially damaging storm surges, and considerable precipitation.”

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) is encouraging early evacuation from areas in the path of this dangerous and potentially damaging typhoon. Although Neoguri is not currently forecast to make landfall on Okinawa, JMA has given the island its highest alert, warning of threats to life and property. In the Kyushu region, which already is experiencing heavy rain, officials are concerned that Neoguri will exacerbate conditions, resulting in flooding and landslides.

According to the JMA, as of the July 7, 1600 UTC advisory, Typhoon Neoguri is located at 23.3°N latitude and 126.5°W longitude, or approximately 325 km SSW of Okinawa. According to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), precipitation in the wake of Neoguri is between 300 and 400 mm (12 and 16 inches).

“Neoguri is forecast to intensify over the next 24 hours as it begins a more northerly turn around the periphery of a subtropical ridge,” Butke continued. “In 24 hours, Neoguri is forecast to pass 200 km (125 miles) west of Okinawa, with 10-minute sustained wind speeds of 160 km/h [100mph]; gusts to 260 km/h [161.5 mph] are forecast for the closest Okinawa bypass.

“Although this projected track will spare Okinawa the strongest wind speeds, Neoguri is a large storm, with a radius of 90 km/h [56 mph] wind speeds extending 260 km [161.5 miles] from the center, consequently strong winds will likely impact the island. Also, any eastward shift in track could subject Okinawa to stronger wind speeds.”

AIR’s analysis indicated that “after bypassing Okinawa, Neoguri is forecast to recurve to the north and east and weaken due to cooler SSTs and higher vertical wind shear as Neoguri begins interacting with an approaching mid-latitude trough from the northwest. In 48-60 hours, Neoguri is forecast to make landfall in southwest Kyushu as a strong typhoon. Interaction with land and further interaction with the mid-latitude westerlies will accelerate Neoguri to the north and east as it undergoes extratropical transitioning and rapid weakening.”

Butke added: “Over the previous 24-48 hours, large parts of western Kyushu have experienced heavy precipitation, between 100 and 300 mm (4 and 12 inches). Many regions have heavy rain and flood advisories posted, and therefore any additional precipitation from Neoguri will only exacerbate the flood situation in this region.”

According to AIR, “Typhoons are the most frequent cause of property loss in Japan. Winds are the predominant driver of loss, although Japan does have strict and well-enforced construction codes. Wind damage is typically automatically covered under standard fire insurance policies, but flood damage is not. Take-up rates for flood are relatively low.”

AIR indicated that “at the expected wind speed levels, non-engineered structures may experience some roof covering damage. Some poorly constructed wood-frame homes may experience moderate to high-level cladding and roofing damage, involving loss of roof covering as well as the removal of porch coverings and awnings, and some these homes can even be destroyed.

“Masonry homes and well-constructed wood-frame homes could have some damages to roof covering (tiles or shingles), wall siding, soffit panels, and gutters. Some poorly built and poorly maintained industrial buildings can lose roofing and siding, especially from windward corners, rakes, and eaves, and even collapse.

“For engineered structures, structural damage is not expected. Some apartment building and shopping center roof coverings could experience moderate levels of damage, and wall sidings may also experience some moderate levels of wind damage.

“A large and powerful storm, Typhoon Neoguri will have widespread impact, affecting Okinawa as well as Japan. Shipments from oil refineries, power outages, airline cancellations, transit interruptions, school closures, restricted travel, and some evacuations may result.

Source: AIR Worldwide

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