What may be the fiercest typhoon in recorded history smashed into the Philippines early Friday morning, carrying winds that make Superstorm Sandy look like a weak relative. Even Hurricane Katrina, the modern measure of nature’s disastrous force on the United States, pales when compared to the punch and expected devastation from Typhoon Haiyan.This thing has the power to plow the very ground and wash completely over much of the island's coastal areas for miles inland. There are some prelim reports now making their way out around the edges, a few scattered reports from the the storm's center track. But by and large the Philippines are almost entirely dark, little power, comm grids knocked out, not much comprehensive damage assessment available, yet.
According to the latest report, Haiyan, also known as Yolanda in the Philippines, was packing winds in excess of 200 mph as it homed in on the island nation in the western Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center said maximum sustained winds in the Category 5 storm were 195 mph with gusts to 235 mph.
- Click here to get an idea of just how large Haiyan really was at its peak.
- Haiyan is now estimated to be the most powerful storm at landfall in recorded history. Early reports are grim:
Wind damage on the south shore of Samar Island in Guiuan (population 47,000) must have been catastrophic, perhaps the greatest wind damage any place on Earth has endured from a tropical cyclone in the past century. A massive storm surge must have also caused great destruction along a 20-mile swath to the north of where the eye hit, where Project NOAH was predicting a 17’ (5.3 meter) storm tide. Wind and storm surge damage were heavy in Tacloban, population 221,000, the capital of the province of Leyte, according to preliminary media reports. Much of Tacloban is at elevations less than ten feet, and several videos posted on YouTube showed a storm surge of at least ten feet moving through the city. The northern (strong) part of Haiyan’s eyewall made a direct hit on the city.
- Seems like an appropriate time to link this:
"Adapting to an evolving climate is going to be required in every sector of society, in every region of the globe. We need to get going, to provide integrated science if we are going to meet the challenge," co-author Richard Moss of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) said in a statement.