According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Typhoon Nesat (known locally as “Pedring”) made landfall in the eastern Isabela and Aurora provinces on the Pacific coast of the Philippines at 18:21 GMT Monday, September 26 with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kilometers per hour), making it a category 2 typhoon. Nesat came ashore exactly two years after Typhoon Ketsana, the most devastating typhoon for the Philippines in the 2009 Pacific typhoon season.
“Strong monsoonal flow from the south resulted in significant moisture and more than 400 mm of precipitation, as observed at a station in Gabaldon in a 24-hour period. Up to 100-200 mm of rainfall were also observed in many other locations near the landfall location,” said Dr. Peter Sousounis, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide. “Due to the heavy precipitation, with rates exceeding 30 mm/hour in places, many rivers (Pampanga, Agno, Bicol, and Cagayan) are still flooding. Nesat passed north of the capital of Manila, which received tropical-storm force wind gusts and 75-100 mm of rainfall.”
“Nesat formed east of Palau on September 21 from an area of convection with a weak low-level circulation center. Over the next several days, Nesat became better organized, under weak vertical wind shear and very warm sea-surface temperatures (29-30°C). Nesat was originally forecast to rapidly intensify into a super typhoon but a mass of dry air limited its development.”
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency’s (JMA) 12:00 UTC update, Nesat is currently a category 1 typhoon with sustained winds of 140 km/hr with gusts to 175 km/hr. The JMA puts Nesat 250 kilometers northwest of Manila, tracking westward at 30 km/h.
Landslides have been reported in mountainous areas while coastal areas have been hit by swells, storm surge and high waves. Water was released from four dams near the capital as they neared overflowing levels. The heavy rainfall has the potential to submerge important crops, namely rice and corn.
According to AIR, commercial properties are generally constructed of reinforced concrete and are expected to sustain some wind-borne debris damage to glazing and outer cladding at these wind speeds. Light metal commercial structures and signage will likely sustain moderate to significant damage. Although residential properties in the coastal regions of central Luzon are commonly constructed of masonry or reinforced concrete, poor construction practices and low-quality materials may lead to more significant damage, including the loss of roofs. However, a high proportion of residential losses are not expected to be insured.
Dr. Sousounis commented, “Typhoon Nesat is one of the strongest to hit the Philippines this year. Fortunately, however, the storm steered clear of metro Manila, where the highest concentration of insured properties is located. While damage is anticipated to some residential properties, a high proportion of residential losses are not expected to be insured. Overall the penetration of insurance in the Philippines is estimated at 15% across all lines of business.”
“Nesat has become better organized again after reemerging into the South China Sea and beginning to recover from its interaction with land,” continued Dr. Sousounis. “The storm is expected to continue moving towards the west and west northwest as it tracks along the southern periphery of the subtropical ridge. It is forecast to reintensify as it moves across the South China Sea with favorable atmospheric and oceanic conditions anticipated for the next several days.”
Nesat is expected to make a second landfall across northern Hainan, China or northern Vietnam on September 29 or September 30 as a category 1-2 typhoon.
AIR is continuing to monitor all developments in the Northwest Pacific and will provide updates as warranted by events. Given Nesat’s wind speeds in the metro Manila area of the Philippines and generally low take-up rates in the areas most heavily affected by the storm, AIR does not expected significant insured losses from Nesat in the Philippines.