Satellite view of Super Typhoon Haiyan approaching the Philippines on Thursday, 7 November 2013. Photo: EUMETSAT

By Dr. Jeff Masters
7 November 2013

(wunderground.com) – 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. Forty 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. […]

Extreme damage likely 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. 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 damage will also be extreme in Tacloban, population 221,000, the capital of the province of Leyte. Much of Tacloban is at elevations less than ten feet, and the most recent storm surge forecast made by the Philippines' Project NOAH calls for a storm tide (the combined height of the surge plus the tide) of 12’ (3.6 meters) in Tacloban. The northern (strong) part of Haiyan’s eyewall is now battering the southern part of the city. Haiyan’s winds, rains, and storm surge will cause widespread devastation throughout the Central Philippines during the day, though the storm’s fast forward speed of 25 mph will cut down on the total rainfall amounts, compared to typical typhoons that affect the Philippines. Hopefully, this will substantially recede the death toll due to flash flooding, which is usually the biggest killer in Philippine typhoons. Once Haiyan exits into the South China Sea, it will steadily decay, due to colder waters and higher wind shear. However, it will still be a formidable Category 1 or 2 typhoon when it hits Vietnam and Laos, and I expect that the 12+ inches of rain that the storm will dump on those nations will make it a top-five most expensive natural disaster in their history. [more]

Super Typhoon Haiyan: Strongest Landfalling Tropical Cyclone on Record


Debris float on a flooded road as strong winds and rain continue to batter buildings after Typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban city, Leyte province in this still image from video, 8 November 2013. Photo: REUTERS / ABS-CBN via Reuters TV

By Manuel Mogato and Rosemarie Francisco, with additional reporting by Karen Lema and Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Jason Szep and Jeremy Laurence
8 November 2013

MANILA (Reuters) – The strongest typhoon in the world this year and possibly the most powerful ever to hit land battered the central Philippines on Friday, forcing millions of people to flee to safer ground, cutting power lines and blowing apart houses.

Haiyan, a category-5 super typhoon, bore down on the northern tip of Cebu Province, a popular tourist destination with the country's second-largest city, after lashing the islands of Leyte and Samar with 275 kph (170 mph) wind gusts and 5-6 meter (15-19 ft) waves.

Authorities warned more than 12 million people were at risk, including residents of Cebu City, home to around 2.5 million people, and areas still reeling from a deadly 2011 storm and a 7.1-magnitude quake last month.

"The super typhoon likely made landfall with winds near 195 mph. This makes Haiyan the strongest tropical cyclone (typhoon) on record to make landfall," said Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert and director of meteorology at U.S.-based Weather Underground.

Typhoons and cyclones of that magnitude can blow apart storm-proof shelters due to the huge pressure they create, which can suck walls out and blow roofs off buildings.

About a million people had taken shelter in more than 20 provinces, after Philippine President Benigno Aquino appealed to people in Haiyan's path to evacuate from danger spots, such as river banks, coastal villages and mountain slopes.

"Our school is now packed with evacuees," an elementary school teacher in Southern Leyte who only gave her name as Feliza told a radio station. Leyte and Southern Leyte are about 630 km (390 miles) southeast of the capital Manila.

The storm's path includes the resort island of Boracay and other holiday destinations.

"Please do not underestimate this typhoon. It is very powerful. We can feel each gust," Roger Mercado, governor of Southern Leyte province, adjacent to Leyte, told DZBB radio. "We lost power and all roads are impassable because of fallen trees. We just have to pray."

In Samar, contact was lost with some towns and villages, said local officials. More than 41,000 people have been evacuated in the province, one of the country's poorest.

"The whole province has no power," Samar Governor Sharee Tan told Reuters by telephone. Fallen trees, toppled electric posts and other debris blocked roads, she added. […]

Authorities halted ferry services and fishing operations, while nearly 200 local flights had been suspended. Commuter bus services were also stopped as the storm dumped torrential rain, ripped iron roofs off houses and snapped trees. […]

An average of 20 typhoons slam into the Philippines every year. In 2011, typhoon Washi killed 1,200 people, displaced 300,000 and destroyed more than 10,000 homes. Haiyan is the 24th such storm to batter the Philippines this year.

Typhoon Bopha last year flattened three coastal towns on the southern island of Mindanao, killing 1,100 people and causing damage estimated at $1.04 billion. [more]

Super typhoon Haiyan slams into central Philippines, millions flee

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