Most of the dynamic models are only showing it as a weak tropical storm at best, so while it might bring some winds and rain it shouldn’t cause too much damage. Should cause little to no disruption to oil and gas interests unless something breaks that wasn’t supposed to.
Of more concern is Typhoon Noul, which looks to brush the Philippines before impacting the southern Japanese islands. And just behind it is Depression number seven, which looks to strengthen into a Typhoon over the next few days:
Noul is projected to have impacts over $800 Million if it follows the current track. A wobble to the left could easily double that value, while a wobble to the right could cut it by a factor of 5 or more.
Winds could reach tropical storm strength right along the coast where this think moves onshore, with widespread areas (seen in blue) of gust winds. Impacts are forecasts to be light; it’s likely any efforts to prepare extensively (especially evacuations, shutdowns, etc.) would cost more than the storm itself, but it’s a good idea to review your hurricane plans, get dead limbs out of the way and clean up possible debris, prepare for some scattered power outages, those kinds of things. Consider it a test run for the real thing.
So just what is a “subtropical storm”? First some quick abbreviated definitions. A tropical cyclone (the family that is commonly called hurricanes or tropical storms) is defined as warm core low pressure system with winds above a given threshold (34 knots). Tropical low pressure systems have a relative, the extratropical cyclone or mid-latitude cyclone. Extratropical cyclones are fairly common, but can form nor’easters, which are intense, cold-core low pressure systems, sort of the cold cousin of the hurricane. Subtropical cyclones are hybrids. The have a cold or cool core but are taking on some tropical characteristics such as the development of thunderstorms near the center of circulation. There is a spectrum of low pressure systems with various characteristics like wind fields, temperatures, and driving mechanisms. Like many things in nature, weather systems sometimes don’t fit into nice neat categories.
The HWRF model (the light blue line) brings the storm into the central SC coast as a big, diffuse low – maybe briefly reaching tropical storm strength. Nothing serious to worry about, but worth checking over your emergency supplies for the essentials like SPAM. Events like this usually rack up a few million dollars in impacts. That may sound like a lot but in today’s environment it isn’t.
There have been 26 major aftershocks as of 2pm EST (18Z), all along the mountain ranges to the west of the earthquake epicenter. Some have been quite strong – two near the original quake were over m6.0. These are causing additional damage, probably additional casualties, as well as panic and disrupting rescue efforts. The initial impact estimate was close to $2 Billion; with each aftershock that number goes up, and is now pushing $2.5 Billion, with most of that in Nepal, but likely several hundred million in damage in neighboring India.
Overall economic impact to Nepal will easily exceed $1 Billion dollars, and impacts in India may exceed $500 Million. Here’s what the model spread looks like. Best estimate is $1.8 Billion, with much of the uncertainty is due to construction quality. Some scary but plausible scenarios are in the $6 Billion range, but the majority of models place impacts around $2 Billion:
Update: To put this in to context, the GDP of Nepal is about 66 Billion, so this event will be about 2% of GDP. Recent “bad” natural disasters impacting the US like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina were in the $50 to $80 Billion range, but that is only 0.4 or 0.5 % of the US GDP. This earthquake would be a $320 Billion disaster in the US – something we’ve never experienced.
Early death reports are in the 500 range, but I would expect the final numbers to be well into the thousands.
This is a very vulnerable area, where the Indian subcontinent is ramming into Asia and uplifting the Himalaya Mountains, and previous severe earthquakes near Kathmandu have been devastating.
Most of the models indicated well under one million USD in damage, but a couple of the models showed over $5 Million in impacts; I doubt it was that high. There have been a number of quakes in this area recently. Strain building up, or being relieved? Hard to tell . . .
News Reports indicate it scared people but probably not a lot of damage. In my MIDGARD model suite of nine models, four were less than one million USD with a max of $5 Million.
Maysak should make landfall Sunday morning Philippines time (this evening US time) as a moderate tropical storm with peak winds around 55kts (63 mph, 100kph). Impacts look to be in the $30 to $40 million range – much, much less than the forecast indicated a few days ago. Here is the wind swath forecast using the latest JTWC track/intensity and my Taru model.