They get hit with tropical storms more than any other area of the world. They’ve been hit several times this year already. But the biggest of all is hitting the Philippines now. It is also one of the strongest storms ever recorded on Earth.
They’re called typhoons in the Pacific Ocean, the most active area of the tropics. It’s the same type of storm as what we call “hurricanes.” Instead of giving them categories based on intensity (Category5), they call them “Super Typhoons” when sustained winds reach 150 mph or more. Haiyan this afternoon reached 195 mph with gusts to 235 mph. This makes Haiyan one of the strongest storms ever recorded. The official, final ranking will come later.
There are a lot of small islands in the Philippines, and a lot of people live in very low elevations. They knew it was coming, and have been through this many times before, but even grizzled storm veterans have never been through anything like this.
We can only hope that loss of life is minimal. At this point, there’s no way to minimize the damage that is already occurring.
“(This typhoon) is historically interesting," said Brian McNoldy, senior research associate at University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
"It’s going to be one of the most impressive tropical cyclones. We don’t exactly know how strong it is. To have a storm this strong make landfall will of course be rather catastrophic without a doubt.”
Here are some of the latest amazing pictures from Twitter:
— Matt Sampson (@TWCMattSampson) November 7, 2013
— Marshall Shepherd (@DrShepherd2013) November 7, 2013
High resolution image from NOAA of Super Typhoon Haiyan. pic.twitter.com/AmyFbDYDIF
— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) November 7, 2013