Typhoon Nesat developed on September 23 to the east of the Philippines and intensified to become the eighth typhoon of the West Pacific typhoon season two days later. Nesat continued to strengthen as it moved west towards the Philippine coast and the storm subsequently made landfall as a category 3 typhoon in the Philippine province of Aurora on September 26 with sustained winds of around 120 mph (195 kmph), according to reports. Nesat is currently located in the South China Sea, approximately 170 miles (270 kilometers) northwest of the Philippine capital of Manila, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC). Nesat weakened as it moved across the Philippines and the storm currently packs sustained winds of around 100 mph (160 kmph), equivalent to a category 2 typhoon. However, the storm is expected to strengthen again as it moves through the South China Sea today. Nesat is tracking west at 18 mph (30 kmph) and the JTWC currently expects the storm to approach southern China later this week. The JTWC said typhoon force winds currently extend 45 miles (70 kilometers) from the center of the storm while tropical storm force winds extend 185 miles (300 kilometers).
Nesat pounded the Philippine main island of Luzon with powerful winds and heavy rain as it came ashore. At least seven people were killed in northern regions of Luzon and widespread power cuts were reported. Parts of northern Luzon, including the provinces of Aurora and Isabela, were subjected to typhoon force winds which destroyed properties, according to reports. A tornado in the town of Maconancon (Isabela Province) ripped off the roofs of at least five houses, injuring two people, police said. Nesat also dumped heavy rain (15-25 millimeters an hour) on rice and corn growing regions in northern Luzon. The governor of Isabela province, Faustino Dy, estimated that up to 20 perent of rice crops in the province may have been damaged by the typhoon. Officials also continue to warn of the risk of landslides from heavy rains in mountainous regions. In an early damage assessment report, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said 64,000 people were affected by Nesat and around 20,000 of these had fled their homes. Officials added that several roads and bridges were damaged due to the heavy rainfall.
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Tropical storm force winds were reported across much of Luzon Island, including Manila where financial markets, government offices, transport services and schools were closed. Large parts of the city were without power and officials shut some rail networks as a precaution after strong winds downed power lines and electric posts. A number of flights were also cancelled. Waist-deep floodwaters were also reported in parts of the city, with the historic bayside area badly affected. Reports said emergency personnel evacuated thousands of people in low-lying areas of the capital after floodwaters spilled into shanty towns, hospitals, hotels and even the U.S. Embassy compound. Other residents were evacuated after the Marikina River in metro Manila rose to 18 meters (60 feet) and water was released from dams near the capital as they neared overflowing levels.
Having now exited the Philippines, Nesat is expected to strengthen as it moves through the South China Sea in a west-northwesterly direction that takes it towards southern China. The extended JTWC forecast has Nesat making landfall in the Chinese island of Hainan on September 29 as a category 2 typhoon before weakening and coming ashore in northern Vietnam as a tropical storm. However, there is considerable uncertainty associated with Nesat’s long term forecast and Guy Carpenter will continue to monitor the storm’s progress over the next couple of days.
Sources: Joint Typhoon Warning Center, WSI, Agence France Presse, Reuters News, Kyodo News, Wall Street Journal
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