Super Typhoon Haiyan is leveling the Phillippines

Super Typhoon Haiyan as seen by composite image courtesy of Japan’s & Europe’s Meteorological services from geostationary orbit on 7 Nov 2013 UTC 13:00. Click image for more awesome pics & info at Bad Astronomy.

Update: Reported via the NOAA, “the US’ National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had issued a bulletin saying that the storm’s intensity could no longer be tracked using the widely-used Dvorak storm intensity scale.” If it were to be rated, guesses are from strong cat 6 to cat 7.

This is just the beginning of what some climate researchers say may be in our collective future. Super-storms, hyper-canes, some inevitably hitting densely populated regions, taking out vast sections of our interconnected, interdependent global economy:

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.

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.

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. Here’s the massive scale of Haiyan in more familiar perspective.



It’s not just that this Haiyan is so powerful that it might push the boundary of a heretofore unseen category 6 to 7 storm, it’s so huge that if the eye were hitting Charleston, South Carolina, hurricane force winds and storm surge would stretch from Miami to NYC. If you don’t believe me, here’s another hypothetical shot.




  1. Wylann says

    Lots of my wife’s family lives in the Philippines. It will probably be a few days, at least, before we are able to check on them. :(

  2. PatrickG says

    So sorry to hear that, Wylann. A lot of people must be going through what you’re experiencing right now. :(

  3. Randomfactor says

    If the question is raised whether global warming “did” this, I fear the answer is “not really…they’ll get WORSE.”

  4. left0ver1under says

    I’ve lived in Taiwan for the last eight years, and 2013 has been the most bizarre typhoon season of all, the least affected it has been by typhoons, while other countries in the region have been hit hard. Taiwan hasn’t had a single day of government ordered closures, when there’s usually at least two or three days, and typhoon Haiyan isn’t likely to do anything either – this weekend’s forecast is clear and sunny both days. The 2013 typhoon season has also been unusually long, over a month longer than most years.

    The biggest surprise is how the typhoons have hit. Twice in September and October, two typhoons appeared in the Pacific at the same time and acted like a pair of magnets repelling each other. The first typhoons were pushed across onto China in a day or two leaving little rain, while the trailing typhoons were slowed and pushed north by the jet stream. Nearly every major typhoon that went north eventually clobbered Japan.

    It got really weird in 2012. Typhoon Tembin did a loop, crossing Taiwan east-to-west, then going south before recrossing Taiwan, south-to-north. The Taiwanese I talked to said they’ve never seen anything like that ever, not even the elderly could remember anything like it.

  5. haitied says

    People cling too tightly to strict cause & effect. The storm may have happened anyways, but having more energy in the system makes the potential for severe events higher. I really can’t stand when people go off on climate change denial, I will kindly tell them they are uninformed, make suggestions for reading if they want to stop sounding so fucking foolish and ignorant. pretty much in those words with a nice calm and matter of fact tone.

  6. Onamission5 says

    News reports are saying that there are 1200 dead, many more still missing as of this morning (10 AM EST US).


  7. left0ver1under says

    It’s 7PM here (Taiwan) as I write. The latest news puts it at 10,000 dead.

    One person to blame for some of the deaths is no longer around to face the consequences: Ferdinand Marcos. Billions of dollars were sent to the Philippines as “foreign aid”, but instead he lined his pockets with it, with the US government’s blessing. How much money could have been spent on decent homes, infrastructure, schools, education, standards of living or disaster prevention if not for Marcos? The Philippines has nearly all the natural resources to make concrete cheaply, so money, materials and transportation (back when oil was cheap) were not an issue.

    The majority of Filipinos live in poverty, many in shanty towns, some on hillsides in corrugated steel shacks. Those are the people who will be hardest hit, who will account for most of the dead, bodies washed away in mudslides similar to the one in Peru in 2012. During the 2004 tsunami, most of those killed in Thailand, Indonesia and elsewhere lived in simply constructed homes near the ocean.

    And how many deaths will be attributable to deforestation, to tearing out of trees for fires and construction? Trees stablize land and prevent erosion. Landslides following typhoons have hit China, Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia killing hundreds or thousands, all caused by deforestation.

    And that’s without mentioning the catholic church’s culpability in all of this.

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