BOSTON, Aug. 8, 2014 – According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Typhoon Halong is currently moving to the north at a speed of 15 km/h and is expected to make landfall in western Shikoku late Saturday night local time. The storm has a central pressure of 950 mb and maximum sustained winds of approximately 139 km/h.
Halong is expected to maintain this intensity through landfall and then quickly deteriorate as it moves northward over the cooler waters of the Russian Maritime Territory.
Conditions farther away in Tokyo will be quite a bit milder, with only 25-50 mm of rain expected and wind gusts of 80 km/h.
According to AIR, the majority of the residential buildings in Kyushu and Shikoku consist mostly of wood-frame construction. At the expected wind speed levels, these
structures may experience moderate to high cladding and roofing damage. For engineered buildings, such as reinforced concrete and steel buildings, expected structural damage is very low to none. Commercial building cladding and roof coverings could experience moderate levels of damage.
According to AIR, the vulnerability of buildings to flood damage varies by construction type. For a given flood depth, a residential wood-frame building is expected to sustain more damage than a residential masonry building. Concrete construction is less vulnerable to flood than steel or masonry. Commercial and apartment buildings usually have stronger foundations than residential buildings, and are thus better able to resist flood loads.
Flood insurance does not exist as a standalone policy in Japan. Instead, property owners can opt to purchase flood coverage as part of a standard fire insurance policy. In typical Japanese flood policy coverage, a specified payout is made only when actual damage falls within a specified range of loss.
AIR is continuing to monitor the situation and will provide updates if warranted.