Catastrophe risk modeling company AIR Worldwide Corp. estimates insured losses from both wind and precipitation-induced flooding from Typhoon Wipha are unlikely to exceed $250 million The estimate covers insured losses to property and contents for onshore properties.
Typhoon Wipha struck the coast of mainland China Wednesday and raked the region with heavy rains and high winds. “The storm made landfall about 50 miles south of Wenzhou City in Zhejiang province at 2:30 am local time (18:30 UTC) with maximum sustained winds of near 100 mph,” said Dr. Peter Sousounis, senior research scientist at AIR Worldwide. “Tiles on roofs were blown off and streets were flooded as the storm dumped more than 7 inches of rain.” Power was cut to hundreds of communities. Early reports from local officials suggested that close to 10,000 homes were destroyed in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces, with another 42,000 damaged. Most are unlikely to have been insured.
Prior to landfall, local authorities evacuated more than 2 million people in the provinces of Shanghai, Fujian, and Zhejiang. In Zhejiang, 1.6 million people were evacuated in the largest mass relocation in more than 50 years. Officials took special precautions to vacate residents on the coastline after last year’s Typhoon Saomai, which battered the same general area of China’s south-central coast and killed 179 people.
“Wipha lost intensity rapidly after landfall,” continued Sousounis. “By 11:00 am local time, winds had dropped to under 70 mph and the system was downgraded to a tropical storm. However, forecasters said Wipha would continue to dump heavy rains along China’s already soaked eastern seaboard through Thursday.”
Sousounis added, “In 1997, Zhejiang province was hit by Typhoon Winnie, which caused economic losses of $7.9 billion and killed 236. Similar in landfall intensity, Winnie struck a more heavily populated stretch of the coast and maintained its intensity longer. While Typhoon Wipha ultimately tracked closer to Shanghai than Winnie, by the time the center of the system approached the most heavily populated areas, sustained winds had already dropped to below 60 mph. Little wind or flood damage has been reported in Shanghai.”
Source: AIR Worldwide, www.air-worldwide.com.
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