Super Typhoon Haiyan – Yolanda, as the storm is known in the Philippines – on Thursday, November 7, became the strongest typhoon, or hurricane, of 2013. As of today, the storm had maximum sustained winds at 195 mph. That’s just 6 mph shy of an EF-5 tornado. Plus there are gusts up to 235 mph. Haiyan is a powerful storm that appears to be headed straight across the Philippines. Evacuations are underway.
Yolanda or Haiyan is shaping up to be one of the worst storms on Earth, ever. The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) says:
Tropical Cyclone HAIYAN-13 can have a high humanitarian impact based on the maximum sustained wind speed and the affected population and their vulnerability.
Luckily, the storm does not appear to be headed for Manila, the capital and second-most-populous city of the Philippines. In Manila, which is prone to floods, the lowest alert in a four-level typhoon warning system has been issued. At this writing, Haiyan’s eye was about 200 miles southeast of Eastern Samar province’s Guiuan township. Recent forecast tracks suggest it will pass very near Tacloban, a city of close to a quarter million people, and Cebu, a city of close to one million people.
The storm has been moving at 24 mph, up from its earlier speed of 20 mph.
The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center had earlier said it expected the storm to weaken as it crossed the ocean to the Philippines. Instead, Haiyan has intensified and accelerated as it moved closer to the country.