Super Typhoon Noul Delivers Glancing Blow to the Philippines: AIR Analysis

May 12, 2015

According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Super Typhoon Noul “made a brief landfall along the mountainous northeastern tip of the main Philippine island of Luzon near the small city of Santa Ana, late Sunday afternoon, May 10, local time.” The storm packed sustained winds of 160 mph (260 km/h) and gusts to 195 mph (315 km/h).

AIR noted that “because of Noul’s brief time spent over land and because the region of landfall is relatively sparsely populated,” it doesn’t anticipate “significant insured losses from the storm’s passage over the Philippines.

Dr. Kevin Hill, senior scientist at AIR Worldwide commented: “The strong winds and heavy rain from this compact, very intense storm ripped apart smaller houses, uprooted trees, resulted in some loss of electricity, and caused localized flooding.

“Fortunately, however, Noul delivered only asignificant insured losses . Predictions of a damaging storm surge and significant wind damage to property, as well as precipitation-induced flash flooding, lahar (mud, rock, and debris) flow, and landslides largely did not materialize.”

Super Typhoon Noul—also known as Dodong—weakened slightly after making landfall and is now tracking on a northeast course toward Okinawa.

AIR further explained that in anticipation of Super Typhoon Noul—the fourth and strongest tropical storm to strike the Philippines this year—”a few thousand people had been evacuated from Cagayan and Isabela provinces on Luzon, businesses had been boarded up, schools and gymnasiums had been established as shelters, and food, water, and medicine had been stockpiled. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had issued multiple storm warnings—including the highest-level PAGASA warning for the northeast part of Cagayan Province and islands off its coast.”

Dr. Hill added: “Because of its limited contact with land, Super Typhoon Noul was not nearly as destructive as the 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan, which caused enormous damage and the death or injury of as many as 8,000 people. (A ‘super’ typhoon is in the range of a Category 4 or Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale.) In fact rain from Noul was welcomed by the rice and corn farmers in the region, who have been experiencing drought conditions.”

Since impacting the Philippines, “Noul has weakened substantially due to land interaction, increasing wind shear, and cooler sea-surface temperatures (SSTs). According to the JMA analysis valid at 12:45 p.m. EDT May 11 (0:45 a.m. PHT May 12, 16:45 UTC May 11), Noul is located at 24.9°N, 124.9°E, with maximum 10-minute sustained wind speeds of 78 mph (126 km/h,” AIR said.

“Noul is tracking to the northeast as it continues to round the western periphery of the subtropical ridge, and this track direction is forecast to continue, along with an increase in forward speed. Noul is forecast to continue weakening due to increasing wind shear and decreasing SSTs and will likely lose tropical characteristics in the next 24 to 36 hours.”

According to AIR, “residential buildings in rural areas are typically constructed with light materials—such as wood frames and galvanized iron or aluminum roofs— rendering them quite vulnerable to wind damage. The reported destruction of small houses in the landfall region is in line with expectations given Noul’s wind speed. Similarly, the numerous trees reported down and subsequent loss of power typify damage from events of this intensity.”

Source: AIR Worldwide

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