AIR: Typhoon Vicente Shuts Down Hong Kong

July 25, 2012

According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Typhoon Vicente, the 8th named storm to form in the Northwest Pacific this year, struck Hong Kong at 4 a.m. Tuesday, July 24, 2012.

Accompanied by heavy rains and 10-minute sustained winds of 80 knots (170 km/h) according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Vicente made landfall as a strong Category 2 typhoon.

Prior to landfall, the Hong Kong Observatory issued its No. 10 hurricane signal – the highest for the city – for the first time since 1999, when Typhoon York made a direct hit on the region. Due to the relatively low levels of damage that have been reported thus far, AIR does not anticipate significant insured losses from Vicente.

“High winds and heavy rains felled up to 1,000 trees in the city, and flood damage has also been reported,” said Dr. Peter Sousounis, senior principal atmospheric scientist at AIR Worldwide. “Apart from this, Vicente’s rapidly diminishing winds are expected to have caused limited damage to roof and wall claddings of poorly constructed homes and commercial structures, and very little damage to well-built structures, within Hong Kong.”

According to Sousounis, Guangdong, a major city in Guangzhou Province, received less damage because of weaker winds.

“The storm is forecast to continue moving west-northwest through Guangdong Province, and cross over into Guangxi province. Although Vicente continues to weaken, it has the potential to dump 12 inches of rain in Guangxi province. Authorities have evacuated more than 42,000 people in the Guangdong city of Maoming, in the event of flash flooding and mudslides that might result from the anticipated heavy rains there,” said Dr. Sousounis.

Vicente had a short life. It formed on July 20th east of the Philippines and then tracked westward across Northern Luzon but stalled for a 24-hour period which gave it time to intensify over warm water. By July 23rd, Vicente had achieved a central pressure of 950 millibars and reached its maximum intensity of 105 mph (1-minute sustained) winds. Early in its life, Vicente helped to supply the moisture that fueled the Beijing floods over the weekend.

According to AIR, Tropical Storm Vicente is expected to continue west-northwest through southern China, and may cause additional heavy rains in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces as it progresses. Although Vicente has had a notable impact on travel, communications and businesses, Hong Kong escaped serious damage.

Source: AIR Worldwide

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