SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020
Typhoon Hagupit
12/5/2014 6:00:00 PM
Type of postingPosting date:time ESTSummaryScenariosDownloads
Landfall 12/8/2014 5:00:00 PM  
Pre-Landfall 112/5/2014 6:00:00 PM  
Posting Date: 12/5/2014 6:00:00 PM

Barely a year since the region was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines is bracing for the arrival of another major tropical cyclone. Typhoon Hagupit, known locally as Ruby, is now moving slowly but steadily westward toward the Philippines. The system has decreased slightly in intensity, but it is still a powerful storm and it is not forecast to weaken much more before making landfall. It is expected to reach the Eastern Visayas Region in the central Philippines late on Saturday evening local time, as a Violent Typhoon or Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Forecast Track and Intensity

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Hagupit was located at 12.1°N, 128.0°E as of 18:40 UTC December 5, moving west at 10 km/h. Rated as a violent typhoon, its estimated maximum sustained winds are 198 km/h, with gusts to 270 km/h. Hagupit is projected to continue moving slowly westward on the southern edge of a subtropical ridge positioned to the north and not weaken much prior to landfall. It will begin to weaken after making landfall, but is still forecast to be a very strong typhoon when it emerges into the South China Sea early next week. Hagupit is expected to move through the central islands, likely making initial landfall on the island of Samar. However, there is still uncertainty in the exact track. Some models keep the storm farther south tracking through the Visayas, but the majority have it tracking slightly northward through southern Luzon toward Manila.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has issued public storm warning signals for 34 geographic areas from southeastern portions of Luzon, the main northern island, to northeastern parts of Mindanao, the main southern island. Much of this area is under Public Storm Warning Signal No. 2, with winds of 61 to 100 km/h (38 to 62 mph) anticipated.

The name Hagupit, which means to lash or flog, is very appropriate because the storm will move extremely slowly over the rugged terrain, taking 48-72 hours to move over the country. As it passes it will deliver high winds and deposit extraordinarily large amounts of rain—more than half a meter in places—making potentially deadly landslides and flash floods likely.

The 16 provinces that lie within a radius of 50 km from the anticipated track of the center of the typhoon will likely experience heavy crop damage, downed trees, and extensive damage to houses made of light materials. Coastal areas may experience storm surges of about 3 to 4 meters. Metro Manila and provinces within a radius of 100 km from the center of the storm may also experience storm surges, along with moderate crop damage and dangerous conditions at sea.

Because of its more northerly track, the storm is unlikely to be accompanied by as high of a storm surge as last year’s Typhoon Haiyan, which caused so many casualties and so much damage in Tacloban City. The region has yet to recover from Typhoon Haiyan, and 25,000 people there are still living in temporary shelters and tents. In preparation for Typhoon Hagupit, schools and government offices have closed and thousands of people are being evacuated from coastal areas.

Exposure at Risk

The region that will bear the brunt of Typhoon Hagupit’s impact is largely rural and agricultural, although the storm may approach the Metro Manila area early next week. Given that the landfall region is generally less urbanized and less accustomed to typhoons, construction types and standards are lower than those in the northern islands. While reinforced masonry structures are typical, light materials—such as wood frame with galvanized iron and aluminum roofs—are frequently used for residential buildings in rural areas, making such structures vulnerable. Given that insurance penetration is typically no more than 10% to 20%, insured losses are not expected to be significant as a result of this event.

The AIR tropical cyclone team continues to monitor Typhoon Hagupit and will provide an update on Monday.

Typhoon Hagupit
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