9 July 2014 Insurance

Typhoon Neoguri weakens after lashing Okinawa

Typhoon Neoguri is weakening after hitting Japan’s southern Okinawa islands last night, lashing the islands with torrential rain and strong winds.

According to catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide, after reaching wind speeds of nearly 180 km/h, Neoguri has weakened over the past 12–24 hours and has now been downgraded to a moderate typhoon.

More than 500,000 people were evacuated from Okinawa and, according to the Okinawa Electric Power Company, more than 100,000 customers have lost power.

Nansei Sekiyu KK, a Japanese oil refiner, reported that it had suspended operations in Okinawa. In Naha, trees have been uprooted, storefronts damaged, and lampposts blown over. The storm has resulted in one fatality.

“Neoguri is forecast to slowly weaken over the next 24 hours as it encounters lower sea surface temperatures, higher vertical wind shear, and begins interacting with an approaching trough from the northwest,” said Jason Butke, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide.

“Neoguri made its turn to the north yesterday and will continue on this northerly track before recurving more to the north-northeast and then turning to the northeast. In 36 hours, Neoguri is forecast to make landfall in southwestern Kyushu Island near the city of Kagoshima as a strong Category 1 or weak Category 2 typhoon. However, because of the orientation of Japan’s coastline, even slight changes in the forecast track may have significant implications for loss potential.

“After that, Neoguri will weaken further as it encounters the rough terrain of Kyushu Island and will accelerate to the east-northeast as it continues its interaction with the trough and the mid-latitude westerlies. Neoguri is expected to undergo extratropical transitioning.”

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