Typhoon Megi Hits Taiwan, Bringing 20 Foot Waves, Power Cuts; RMS Comments

By Chinmei Sung | September 27, 2016

Typhoon Megi lashed Taiwan with wind and rain on Tuesday, bringing 20-foot-high waves and knocking pedestrians off their feet in Taipei.

More than 280,000 households lost electricity, state-owned utility Taiwan Power said on its website. About 5,000 people were evacuated, according to the island’s National Fire Agency. The capital city of Taipei shut markets, schools and offices, along with municipalities across the island.

Seven-meter (23-foot) waves crashed along the eastern shore, Cti Television images showed. Pedestrians venturing outdoors lost their balance against strong winds in Taipei.

The fourth typhoon to trigger warnings by Taiwan this year had sustained winds of 162 kilometers (101 miles) an hour, gusting to 198 kilometers an hour, the Central Weather Bureau said. As of 11 a.m., the center of the storm was 110 kilometers off the coast of eastern Taiwan’s Hualien. No injuries or deaths had been reported. The storm engulfed the whole of Taiwan’s main island, the weather authority said.

Low-lying coastal areas were alerted to possible flooding and a torrential rain warning was issued for counties and cities across the island. Dozens of townships were put on landslide watch.

More than a hundred flights into and out of Taiwan were canceled as of 11 a.m., according to Taiwan’s biggest international airport in Taoyuan. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. canceled 32 flights Tuesday and Wednesday. High speed rail service along Taiwan’s western coast was suspended all day Tuesday.

In China, the meteorological administration raised the level of its emergency response readiness and forecast Megi to make landfall on the coast of Fujian province Thursday morning.

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[Editor’s note: RMS, the Newark, Calif.-based catastrophe modeling company, said Megi is the third typhoon to hit Taiwan in the last two weeks, following Super Typhoon Meranti and Typhoon Malakas, which bypassed Taiwan to the southwest and northeast coasts of Taiwan, respectively, within three days of each other.

Commenting on Taiwan’s exposure, RMS said, economic and insured losses from typhoons are typically low in Taiwan because typhoons tend to approach from the east side of the island where exposures are relatively low.

“In addition, insured building stock in Taiwan is typically designed to withstand typhoons gusts as well as water ingress,” said the briefing, which was prepared by Emily Paterson, RMS’ senior manager for Event Response.

Industrial clusters are mostly found on the western half of the island, although there are some near Hualien, which is forecast to receive hurricane force winds, the briefing said.

Structures in industrial parks are constructed to withstand typhoon winds, and RMS field surveys indicate that industrial parks in Taiwan are generally sited on elevated ground while the buildings themselves have stepped entrances to minimize flood risk.

China Exposure

Megi is forecast to make landfall late today (Sept. 27) over Fujian Province in China, near the city of Quanzhou, which has a population of approximately 1.19 million.

RMS said that Fujian is one of the more developed Chinese provinces and several foreign firms have operations in the province. The province also houses several economic and technological development zones.

The city of Xiamen, which was hit by Typhoon Meranti, is also expected to be hit by Megi. Xiamen has a well-developed economy including manufacturing, chemical industries, shipbuilding and financial services, said RMS, noting there are five main industrial zones in the vicinity of the city.

The Port of Xiamen is a one of the busiest ports in China and an important international deepwater container port, the RMS briefing added.]

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