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.
Japan is a fascinating place for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is at the crossroads of natural disasters. Typhoons, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanoes, landslides, about the only thing Japan doesn’t get regularly are wildfires. The weakening typhoon Vongfong is expected to sweep over the islands over the next few days, and this morning an offshore quake rattled the northern islands:
The quake shouldn’t have caused any damage; the typhoon may cause a few hundred million USD in impacts, but dumping more rain on the Fukushima site is always unwelcome.
The Icelandic Met Service (which monitors their volcanos) has a very nice overview of their volcanic systems here.
For a while yesterday it looked like Hurricane Cristobal would reach Iceland as an intact system, although it is veering south now. If so we might have had a Hurricano, or Volicane. Either way, I claim these two names, so if SyFy wants to do a cheesy movie, they got to talk to me first! Interestingly, there is a (small) correlation between earthquakes and hurricanes (Hurriquakes – again, I claim this name). The storm surge, pressure differences, and lubrication from rain infiltration can cause differential stresses on faults that sometimes trigger quakes. It is thought by some that the great quake in Jamaica that destroyed the pirate haven of Port Royal might have been triggered by a bypassing storm.
After crunching the numbers a bit more the models seem to be settling down to a total impact number of around $4 Billion. The big question many have is how much of that will be covered by insurance. One modeling firm (EQECAT) is saying $0.5 to $1 Billion. My estimates for insured losses are now hovering in the $1.5 Billion range, but that includes more business interruption, tourism, and inventory impacts than I suspect EQECAT included.
So just how bad was this event? Well, if it was your house or business that was damaged, pretty bad. But from the perspective of the state of California, and even the SF Bay Area, this was not a major event. If the $4 Billion impact number holds up, that is less than 1% of the GDP of the Bay Area, and only 0.2% of the GDP of the state as a whole, so while not minimizing the impact this had on the people harmed by the event, it is a local, rather than even a regional or national event from an economics perspective.
A few articles are surfacing that quote KAC such as Bloomberg Business News (shameless plug: KAC provides data to them so it’s a great subscription). Did several other interviews today.
After yesterday’s earthquakes in California and Peru, today is starting off quiet. Tropical Storm Cristobal is moving out of the Bahamas and is forecast to move between North Carolina and Bermuda. It’s hard to pick out of the system it is embedded in:
There is a weak tropical wave that is being tracked (AL97), but no signs of spinning up any time soon. In the Pacific, the West (asian side) is creepy quiet. On the East (Mexico) side, Maria is a very powerful hurricane, and the long-lived Karina, now a tropical storm, meanders in the outflow. Here’s the big picture:
As a reminder, our R&D system updates the status of tropical cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons, etc), earthquakes, and volcanoes hourly here.