Typhoon Mangkhut – which made landfall in the Philippines before passing close enough to Hong Kong and Macau to inflict widespread damage to infrastructure – is estimated to cause between $1 billion and $2 billion in insured losses, according to catastrophe risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide.
AIR states that, after causing severe damage in the Philippines, Mangkhut moved towards mainland China on September 16 with wind speeds of about 160 kilometres per hour, passing 130 km west of Hong Kong and 70 km west of Macau, both of which felts its effects due to a massive wind field.
“Hurricane-force winds extended 160 km from its center and tropical storm force winds extended 510 km from its center. Storm surge was as high as 3.38 meters in Tai Po Kau, Hong Kong,” said Dr. Peter Sousounis, Vice President and Director of meteorology, AIR Worldwide.
Record-breaking storm surges were recorded at the Quarry Bay and Tai Po Kau regions of Hong Kong of 2.35 meters and 3.38 meters, respectively, as glass windows on commercial skyscrapers were shattered and contents were damaged.
Authorities said hundreds of windows were smashed across the city. The storm tore off roofs, downed trees, toppled signs, and produced wind-borne debris.
In the resort city of Macau, the largest gambling hub in the world, all casinos were ordered to close for the first time ever while power was cut to about 20,000 households in low-lying areas and the inner harbour.
Extensive flooding impacted the area, rising above head height in some locations and damaging buildings and contents.
Along the coast of southern China, strong winds caused high rises to sway and blew out windows. Heavy precipitation and storm surge flooded coastal hotels and businesses; thousands of vehicles also suffered flood damage.
AIR’s modelled insured loss estimates include insured wind and precipitation-induced flood damage to property for mainland China; insured wind, storm surge, and precipitation-induced flood damage to property for Hong Kong; insured wind and precipitation-induced flood damage to property for Macau; and insured damage to automobiles for Hong Kong and Macau.
Concurrently, estimates do not include losses to uninsured properties; losses in Guam, the Philippines, or any other territory outside of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau; landslide; losses to land; losses to infrastructure; losses to crops, livestock, aquaculture, and poultry; losses resulting from physical failure of flood defences and landslides and losses from storm surge in Macau and mainland China.
Furthermore, losses to automobiles and losses from business interruption in mainland China; losses from hazardous waste cleanup, vandalism, or civil commotion, whether directly or indirectly caused by the event; demand surge; and other non-modelled losses are all not included in AIR’s estimate.