August 9th, 2015

Update: Tropical Depression Soudelor

Posted at 4:33 PM ET

td-soudelor-map1-8-9smTyphoon Soudelor made landfall in Hualien County, Taiwan at about 05:00 CST Saturday (21:00 UTC Friday), with one-minute sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kilometers per hour) according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Soudelor brought excessive rainfall and strong winds to Taiwan, causing inland flooding, mudslides and reports of widespread damage.

Typhoon Soudelor then made final landfall at about 22:10 CST Saturday (14:10 UTC) in Fujian Province of Mainland China. The JTWC reported one-minute sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kilometers per hour) just prior to final landfall. Heavy rain has caused inland flooding and at least one landslide in Mainland China. Soudelor has since weakened to a tropical depression but still poses a threat for heavy rainfall and gusty winds.

td-soudelor-map1-8-9lg

Hazard data in the CAT-i map above was generated from the final JTWC position report and prior advisories. The right panel outlines the track. The left panel highlights areas affected by storm-force or higher winds based on JTWC advisories.

td-soudelor-map2-8-9lg

Hazard data in the CAT-i map above was generated from the final JTWC position report and prior advisories. The right panel outlines the track. The left panel highlights areas affected by storm-force or higher winds based on JTWC advisories.

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 GC Analytics® representative for assistance or go to www.i-axs.info for further information.

It is too early to determine the full scope and impacts of Soudelor. However, initial reports indicate at least 20 dead and several missing; these numbers could increase as fresh reports emerge. Initial damage reports from Taiwan are widespread, but not of a catastrophic nature. Several homes were destroyed by a mudslide in Mainland China where a number of fatalities occurred. There are widespread reports of downed trees and power lines, and millions have lost power.

Meteorological Discussion

Super Typhoon Soudelor first originated in the deep tropics in the West-Central Pacific, first classified as a tropical depression on July 30 according to JTWC reports. Soudelor was then classified as a Tropical Storm on July 30 and then a Typhoon on August 2. While inflicting significant impacts to Saipan and surrounding areas on Monday, Soudelor was strengthening rapidly with warm waters, good storm ventilation and minimal wind shear.

The JTWC reported one-minute sustained winds building from 75 mph (120 kilometers per hour) to 180 mph (290 kilometers per hour) between 06 UTC August 2 and 18 UTC August 3. By this time, Soudelor was a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, with an estimated central pressure of 900 millibars according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Soudelor then weakened during an eyewall replacement cycle, before building strength again prior to Taiwan landfall. During this time, media reports indicate significant winds on the Japan Ryuikyu Islands Friday into Saturday with unofficial gusts to 145 mph.

Reports indicate that Soudelor made landfall on the Central East coast of Taiwan at around 05:00 CST Saturday (21 UTC Friday), about 19 miles northwest of Hualien. Just prior to this landfall, one-minute sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kilometers per hour) were reported by the JTWC, a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Unofficial wind gusts exceeding 100 mph (160 kilometers per hour) were reported in Taiwan. Wind gusts of 86 mph (140 kilometers per hour) were reported in Taipei with over 320 millimeters of rainfall.

As Soudelor crossed Taiwan, local topography amplified rainfall amounts to excessive levels. Reported rainfall amounts generally exceed 300 millimeters, with local amounts exceeding 700 millimeters to 1300 millimeters depending on local geography. Selected three day rainfall totals in Taiwan follow below.

Location

Rainfall (mm)

Tai Ping Shan-1, Datong Township, Yilan County

1303.0

Taipingshan, Datong Township, Yilan County

1028.5

Duonalindao, Maolin District, Kaohsiung City

931.5

Xiongkongshan, Sanxia District, New Taipei City

863.0

Yuyoushan, Taoyuan District, Kaohsiung City

807.5

Xin Ma Jia, Majia Township, Pingtung County

802.0

Tengzhi, Taoyuan District, Kaohsiung City

796.5

Tai Wu-1, Taiwu Township, Pingtung County

789.0

Xinfa, Liugu District, Kaohsiung City

739.0

Fushan (10th River Management Office), Wulai District, New Taipei City

731.0

Source: Central Weather Bureau

The Typhoon weakened considerably while crossing Taiwan with land and topography interaction, before emerging into the Taiwan Strait, with one-minute sustained winds of 85 mph (135 kilometers per hour) reported by the JTWC.

Just prior to landfall on Mainland China, the JTWC reported one-minute sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kilometers per hour). Soudelor then made final landfall on the eastern coast of Mainland China, near Putian City in Fujian Province, around 22:10 CST (14:10 UTC) Saturday, according to media reports. An unofficial peak wind gust was reported in Fuzhou of 83 mph (135 kilometers per hour), with at least 225 millimeters of rainfall. Another gust of 89 mph (145 kilometers per hour) was reported in Jiuxian Shan. Rainfall amounts of 645 millimeters in 24 hours were reported in Wencheng Co., in Zhejiang Province. The final advisory of the JTWC at 21 UTC Saturday classified Soudelor as a tropical storm with one-minute sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kilometers per hour).

Soudelor has since weakened rapidly over rugged terrain. More recently, Soudelor was classified as a tropical depression by the JMA at 12 UTC Sunday. The remnants of Soudelor continue to bring heavy rain and gusty winds to a widespread area of eastern Mainland China. Inland flooding remains an ongoing threat for affected areas due to heavy rainfall.

On a global basis, Super Typhoon Soudelor is the strongest typhoon of 2015 to date, with one-minute sustained winds of 180 mph and a central pressure of 900 millibars reported last week.

Impacts

It is too early to determine the full scope and severity of impacts from Soudelor as reports continue to emerge.

Initial reports indicate widespread damage across Taiwan, although not of a catastrophic nature. However, excessive rainfall has caused significant inland flooding and mudslides. Downed trees and power lines were also widespread according to reports. Large waves were reported to batter fishing ports on the East coast of Taiwan, although reports of surge magnitude remain sparse.

Reports indicate at least six fatalities in Taiwan, with at least four missing and 379 injured. At least 3,365 people were evacuated ahead of landfall. Power outages have affected at least four million customers.

All 279 domestic flights on Saturday were cancelled along with at least 128 international flights. Train and ferry services were cancelled throughout Taiwan. Bus routes through mountainous areas were suspended and above-ground MRT lines were shut down in Taipei. Reports indicate that the Taiwan Power Company, Taipower, reported six offshore wind turbines toppled by strong winds, with estimated losses of around USD14.48 million.

In Mainland China, reports indicate at least 14 fatalities. At least 250,000 were evacuated in Fujian and Zhejiang Provinces. Reports also indicate power outages affecting at least three million customers. Downed trees and power lines are widespread.

Excessive rainfall has caused inland flooding and mudslides for affected areas, including Fujian and Zhejiang Provinces. Reports indicate a landslide in Eastern Zhejiang, causing some homes to be washed away, and a number of fatalities. Civil authorities report at least 36 houses collapsed and 281 others damaged.

Last Monday, significant damage was rendered to Saipan during passage of Soudelor, with reports of downed power poles, flooding and structural damage. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has been declared a federal disaster area. Reports indicate that the Acting Governor of the Commonwealth has estimated economic damages in Saipan and Tinian to exceed USD20 million. Disruption to local infrastructure including water and power has been reported, with over 380 homes destroyed.

Sources: Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Japan Meteorological Agency, Weather Underground, FEMA, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, RMS, Taipei Times, Reuters, Central Weather Bureau, The Weather Channel, Agence France Presse, China Meteorological Administration.

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Guy Carpenter publishes 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.

Guy Carpenter compiles RISK-i reports for major technological or man-made events worldwide. These reports cover risks to property, transport and life including explosions, fires, crashes, engineering disasters and terrorist attacks that are likely to incur a significant loss to the (re)insurance industry. Please email RISK.i@guycarp.com if you wish to be added to the free email distribution list.

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