The powerful storm named Super Typhoon Haiyan (or Super Typhoon Yolanda, as it is referred to within the Philippines) hit the central islands of the Philippines on Friday, with reported wind speeds of 190 to 195 miles per hour at landfall. For comparison, a commercial airplane takes off at speeds in the range of 160mph.
Haiyan is reported to be the strongest typhoon in the world in 2013, and may be the most powerful recorded tropical cyclone to ever hit land.
Millions of people fled for safer ground and took refuge in storm shelters in the Philippines' central islands, as the typhoon struck. At the time of this post, only one reported death: a woman on the island of Cebu was crushed to death by a tree that fell, according to the Philippine Information Agency.
Meteorologist Jeff Masters at Weather Underground predicts "extreme damage" in the Philippines: "Wind damage in Guiuan (population 47,000) must have been catastrophic, perhaps the greatest wind damage any city on Earth has endured from a tropical cyclone in the past century."
Haiyan, a category-5 storm, lashed the islands of Leyte and Samar with 5-6 meter (15-19 ft) waves as it headed toward densely populated central and southern Philippines, including the resort island of Boracay and other holiday destinations. Authorities warned more than 12 million people were at risk, including residents of the Philippines' second-largest city Cebu, home to around 2.5 million people, and areas still reeling from a deadly 2011 storm and a 7.1-magnitude quake last month.
Dr. Jeff Masters, at Weather Underground:
Super Typhoon Haiyan has made landfall. According to PAGASA, Haiyan came ashore at 4:40 am local time (20:40 UTC) November 7, 2013 near Guiuan, on the Philippine island of Samar. Fourty minutes before landfall, Guiuan reported sustained 10-minute average winds of 96 mph, with a pressure of 977 mb. Contact has since been lost with the city. Three hours before landfall, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) assessed Haiyan’s sustained winds at 195 mph, gusting to 235 mph, making it the 4th strongest tropical cyclone in world history. Satellite loops show that Haiyan weakened only slightly, if at all, in the two hours after JTWC’s advisory, so the super typhoon likely made landfall with winds near 195 mph. The next JTWC intensity estimate, for 00Z UTC November 8, about three hours after landfall, put the top winds at 185 mph. Averaging together these estimates gives a strength of 190 mph an hour after landfall. Thus, Haiyan had winds of 190 - 195 mph at landfall, making it the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in world history. The previous record was held by the Atlantic's Hurricane Camille of 1969, which made landfall in Mississippi with 190 mph winds.
At the time of this blog post, Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda has already made five landfalls, according to the Philippines national weather bureau PAGASA.
PAGASA reported that the super typhoon slammed into land for the third time over Daanbantayan town in Cebu at around 9:40 a.m. The weather disturbance, considered the world's strongest this year, initially made landfall in Guiuan, Samar. Three hours later, the super typhoon hit land over Tolosa town in Leyte. PAGASA said the superhowler is expected a fourth landfall over Negros Occidental.
On Thursday night, before the storm made landfall, President Benigno Aquino III made a televised statement in which he described the typhoon as "a serious threat." From the Philippine Information Agency:
Relief goods have been prepositioned in most of the areas that may be affected. To those who have not received relief goods, please be patient. Rest assured the relief goods will come soonest.
In the Philippines subReddit, a #YolandaPH thread with live updates.
Total of Cancelled flights as of 1200H pic.twitter.com/SWQJQaljVD— NAIA (@naia_miaa) November 8, 2013