Typhoon Chanthu Hits South China – AIR Report

July 23, 2010

According to catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Typhoon Chanthu slammed into southern China near Wuchuan City in Guangdong Province on Thursday, “further drenching a region already inundated by a month of heavy rain and extensive flooding.

“Chanthu’s winds were estimated to be about 126 kilometers per hour (about 80 miles per hour) at landfall, which would make it a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Chanthu is the third typhoon of the Pacific season.”

AIR said the storm weakened rapidly over land and within a few hours was downgraded to a tropical storm. It is expected to weaken further to below tropical storm status within the next six to twelve hours—and to dissipate within 24 hours.

“Currently, Chanthu is tracking northwestward along the southwestern periphery of a deep subtropical ridge coming out of eastern China,” explained Dr. Peter Sousounis, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide. “Chanthu will continue to generate about 10-20 centimeters (four to eight inches) of rain along its path. While not an unusually heavy amount in itself, the rain is falling over a part of southern China that is already saturated with precipitation from earlier in the season.”

AIR also noted that-, as Chanthu moves inland, “officials express concern for the region along the Yangtze River, which has experienced its worst flooding in 30 years. The water level of the Yangtze already is over its safety limit. Floodgates of the Three Gorges Dam have been opened in an attempt to control the flow of water” [See IJ web site – https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2010/07/21/111756.htm ].

In 2006, Typhoon Bilis made landfall in Fujian province to the north, but then moved south and west into the region where Chanthu is now. Typhoon Bilis lasted for five days—the longest lifetime for a typhoon ever recorded—and caused widespread flooding and landslides in the region that amounted to economic losses estimated at RMB 27 billion [$3.98 billion]. However, economic damage from the floods this year (to which Typhoon Chanthu is now adding) are estimated at RMB 142 billion [$21 billion], already more than five times greater than the losses caused by Bilis.

Source: AIR Worldwide

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