Sunday, November 10, 2013

Super Typhoon Haiyan

One of the strongest storms in recorded world history called Super Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, attacked this island country of 7000 + islands on November 7, 2013. The storm front origininated in the Pacific Ocean just east-southeast of Pohnpei on November 2, but since then, had intensified to a super typhoon with maximum sustained winds reaching or exceeding 240 km/h (150mph) on November 6th. At one point, the weather system punched through at least one-minute sustained winds of 314km/h (195mph) as recorded by JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency. It clearly reached a Category 5 storm in record time.
The storm continued  through the Pacific, gaining strength, then approached the Philippines from the east. It made its first landfall in the Philippines at Guiuan, Eastern Samar. As it passed over, the storm did not change in intensity. At this point when confirmed, this super typhoon will be the strongest storm to make landfall on any record book. Compared to the strength and size of this storm compared to the infamous storm that rammed into New Orleans in the mid 90s called hurricane Katrina, this storm was at least 4 times stronger, and could cover an area from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing could be left standing that had to endure the direct path of this storm.
Devastation from this storm is very intense, as the death toll on Samar Island and Leyte are extremely high. The latest reports now estimate that at least 10,000 people perished from the storm in the city of Tacloban alone. Evacuations by the Philippine government ahead of the storm most certainly saved thousands of lives. Still, not knowing the exact path of the storm until it reached land, there was no way to tell exactly which areas in the country would be affected the most. Where do you run to when you live on one of the many 7000+ islands that make up your world? The storm approached the Philippine nation in record time and there was little time to react to get out of the way of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
As many know who read this blog, I have been unable to continue reporting on weather systems here on a regular basis. The last article written was on August 19th, 2013, and since then allot has happened in the world regarding weather. On November 1, the end of the hurricane season, you would think that the weather systems would die down a little. This storm is proof that storms can still be spawned even if they are not in a set window of opportunity for the storms as we know it. In the Philippines, there is no change of season. There are no cold winters. The leaves never fall from the trees unless something like Super Typhoon Haiyan happens and takes every leaf away, including the trees and bark that support them.
Still, with all of the pain and suffering and death caused by this storm, the Philippines will bounce back. Many towns have survived in the path of the storm, yet others have completely perished. On a personal note, I'm still waiting to hear from my wifes family who had to endure this storm. It is highly unlikely that their farming community survived, but we still have a glimmer of hope that everyone that we know survived. Even though storm seasons come and go, I will continue reporting on a regular basis as this blog moves forward.
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