After reanalyzing more than a hundred original damage pictures obtained on-site by the assessment team, assessing some additional damage information from subsequent visits, and conducting a careful analysis of other factors relating to typhoon intensity, such as the measurements of the minimum central pressure and the characteristics of Soudelor's eye on radar and satellite imagery, the team estimated Soudelor's equivalent over-water intensity to be 115-knot (~130 mph) sustained wind, which is the lower threshold of a Category 4 typhoon. The typical peak gust associated with a tropical cyclone of this intensity is 140 knots (~165 mph). The treefall pattern across Saipan was surprisingly coherent, and nicely delimited the path of the small typhoon across the mid-section of the island. The First Wind was dominant at most locations, with the Second Wind having a lesser signal in most areas. This was likely the result of the great extent of treefalls in the First Wind. The presence of some trees in close proximity felled in opposite directions was thought by some to be evidence of tornadoes, but most, if not all, of the treefall pattern is consistent with the large-scale swirling cyclonic flow of the typhoon itself. Particularly after carefully studying the treefall pattern and the patterns of other damages, the assessment team felt that the large-scale swirling wind of the typhoon with a sustained wind and peak gust of a single magnitude (e.g., 115 knots G 140 knots) would be an appropriate metric from which one could account for all the observed effects of the typhoon. The patches of heaviest damage are thus viewed as areas where, for reasons of complex terrain and exposure, the peak over water gusts of 140 knots were experienced in full force and for an extended period.
What is contained this presentation is the team's meteorological assessment for Typhoon Soudelor in Saipan, including a determination of the landfall intensity and of the factors contributing to the severe level of damage.