Bret to Steer Clear of U.S., Ma-On to Strike Japan: AIR

The second named storm of 2011 is expected to graze the Bahamas and Bermuda before turning out to sea and avoiding U.S. landfall while the Japanese coast will feel brunt of Typhoon Ma, according the projections of modeling firm AIR Worldwide.

Tropical Storm Bret — currently located 60 miles north of the Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas — is expected to northeast over the next several days and then turn eastward into the open Atlantic, according to a statement from Dr. Tim Doggett, principal scientist at AIR.

“The primary threat from Bret to the Bahamas is rainfall, which will be exacerbated by the slow forward speed of the storm,” Doggett said, adding that up to four inches of rain could fall in Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands. AIR explained that residential construction in the Bahamas is largely masonry, while commercial properties are a mix of reinforced concrete and masonry. Both construction types should fare well against Bret’s wind speeds, the firm predicted.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Bret is moving north-northeast at 7 miles per hour with 50 mph maximum sustained winds and is located about. A tropical storm warning has already been issued in the Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco Islands in the Northwest Bahamas, the NHS says.

AIR adds category 2 Typhoon Ma-On is about 550 miles southwest of  Tokyo and is expected to landfall on Shikoku Island Tuesday morning. The storm has typhoon-force winds extending 50 miles from its center with tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 225 miles.
“The storm is expected to bring destructive winds to Japan’s southern coasts and some 12 to 24 centimeters of precipitation as the storm slows and  begins to recurve before undergoing extratropical transitioning. In Japan, more than half of storms undergo extratropical transition, which can exacerbate flooding. Even weak storms several hundred kilometers offshore can cause flood damage on land,” Dr. Peter Sousounis, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide explained in a statement.

Modern homes along Japan’s coast “are well engineered,” AIR says, adding that insurance penetration for wind insurance in Japan is roughly 50% for residential buildings and 95% for commercial buildings.

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