Typhoon Usagi Hits Kyushu

August 2, 2007

Dr. Peter Sousounis, senior research scientist at AIR Worldwide said, “Typhoon Usagi battered the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, injuring several people, canceling 140 flights, and cutting power to 28,000 households in Kyushu and neighboring Shikoku.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, “Usagi’s winds have reportedly damaged roof tiles while heavy rain intensified with up to 14 inches of precipitation expected in some areas of southeastern Japan. Thousands of people have been advised to evacuate in advance of more flooding to come.”

“The typhoon, which had strengthened to Category 4 status in its northwest track toward Kyushu, weakened to a Category 2 typhoon before making landfall at 09:00 GMT,” said Sousounis.

He added, “The storm brought 104 mph maximum sustained winds, down from 137 mph the day before, and gusts of 124 mph. Usagi is currently moving north-northwest at 19 mph and forecasters predict it will recurve to the northeast, weakening to a tropical storm in the Sea of Japan before striking northern Japan on the weekend.”

“Usagi is the second major storm to strike Japan in less than a month, following Typhoon Man-yi in July,” noted Sousounis. “Typhoon Usagi’s track resembles that of Typhoon Anita, which struck western Shikoku in 1970 with an accompanying storm surge of 7.7 feet. Heavy precipitation flooded inland sections of the island. Like Usagi, Anita’s intensification rate was slow to start, but it rapidly picked up speed, strengthening to a 154 mph super typhoon before weakening and making landfall with winds closer to 114 mph.”

Based on AIR’s Japan typhoon model and currently available meteorological information, AIR does not expect insured losses to exceed $500 million.

Source: AIR Worldwide.

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