October 18th, 2010

Typhoon Megi

Posted at 8:57 AM ET

megu-smallMegi, which developed on October 13 and subsequently strengthened to become the seventh typhoon of the West Pacific season, made landfall in northern Philippines earlier today as an intense super typhoon, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Reports said Megi made landfall near Palanan Bay in the province of Isabela at about 11:25 local time (03:25 UTC), pounding nearby areas with winds of up to 160 mph (260 kmph). Megi is currently located 185 miles (300 kilometers) north-northeast of Manila and the storm is expected to weaken as it moves across the Philippines today. Megi is expected to emerge in the South China Sea after exiting the Philippines and re-intensify as it heads for southern China. The JTWC said typhoon-force winds currently extend around 45 miles (70 kilometers) from the center of the storm while tropical storm-force winds extend around 165 miles (265 kilometers).

Damage assessments from the areas directly in the path of the storm have been slow to emerge after communication lines were cut in many areas, but officials have reported powerful winds, high waves and heavy rain in and around the landfall point. The northeastern provinces of Isabela and Cagayan have felt the full force of the severe weather associated with Megi, as remote coastal areas were battered with wind gusts of up to 160 mph (260 kilometers). Reports said the powerful winds ripped roofs off houses and downed power lines, prompting local officials in Isabela Province to declare a state of calamity.

megu-big

Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or Instrat® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

Landslides have been reported in mountainous areas while coastal areas have been hit by swells, storm surges and large waves. Reports said Isabela, Cagayan and the other provinces in Megi’s direct path are mostly agricultural and fishing areas, where one of the Philippines’ main rice-growing regions is located. Farmers were urged to harvest as many crops as possible before the typhoon hit. The National Food Authority warned Megi could damage more than 230,000 tons of unmilled rice crop, less than 2 percent of the country’s annual production, in the government’s worst-case scenario.

Around 3,700 people evacuated their homes in the northern Philippines prior to the storm coming ashore as officials warned that the strong winds, heavy rain and large waves could damage buildings, power supplies and agriculture. Emergency services remain on high alert and schools are closed in many areas. Several domestic and international flights have also been cancelled and ships in northern Luzon were told not to leave port. Road transportation was also disrupted as officials in Cagayan Province said rising waters had made many bridges impassable. Four major roads in the provinces of Benguet and Kalinga-Apayao have also been closed because of a landslide. Authorities have reported one death so far after a man drowned in a river in the northern city of Tuguegarao (Cagayan Province). Although Megi’s powerful winds are not expected to hit the capital of Manila directly, officials have urged the city’s 12 million residents to remain on alert for heavy rain. Forecasters said Megi was the strongest storm to hit the Philippines since Typhoon Durian unleashed mudslides that buried entire towns and killed over 1,000 people in 2006.

Megi is forecast to weaken as it crosses the Philippines over the next few hours. Current forecasts suggest Megi will be a category 2 typhoon as it exits the Philippines and emerges in the South China Sea. The storm is forecast to strengthen and take a more northwesterly track as it moves through the South China Sea towards southern China. The JTWC currently expects Megi to make landfall in Guangdong Province as a category 3 typhoon with sustained winds of around 115 mph (185 kmph). China’s National Meteorological Centre said Megi is expected to threaten southeastern provinces. The center issued its second-highest alert for potential “wild winds and huge waves”, warning vessels to take shelter and urging authorities to brace for emergencies.

Sources: Joint Typhoon Warning Center, WSI, Xinhua News Agency, Reuters News, ssociated Press, Agence France Presse, BBC News, CNN News

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Guy Carpenter’s Instrat® department provides CAT-i reports for major natural catastrophes worldwide. These reports cover catastrophes including worldwide tropical cyclones, earthquakes, major UK and European floods and any other natural event that is likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email CAT.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

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Hazard data illustrated in the CAT-i map was taken from i-aXs®, Guy Carpenter’s web-based risk management platform. i-aXs users can view impacted areas on any map as well as see how their portfolios were affected. Please contact your broker or Instrat® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

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