November 9, 2013
Super Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda
Today we look at what has become one of the strongest storms on the planet, Super Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda) in the Philippines.
The two images below show you what the most intense storm on the planet looks like. This storm is one of the strongest storms in history; the only storm that matches to this is Super Typhoon Tip from 1979.
Ladies and gentleman let me introduce you to one of the most powerful forces of nature, a tropical system. This tropical system developed in the western Pacific, so it took on the name of Typhoon. This storm developed near Guam and then pushed westward. During this phase, the storm went from a measly tropical depression to a tropical storm, and then developed into a weak Typhoon. However, over the past few days, this storm has done nothing but gain steam, all the way to landfall in the Philippines. When this storm hit max intensity, it had pressure estimated to be in the 890mb range, which is impressive. Not only that, but this storm also gained CAT 5 strength and the winds topped the charts. There were winds in excess of 170mph with gusts over 200mph, which is extremely impressive.
This storm will go done in history and the record books as one of the strongest storms on the planet. There is only one storm that comes in this same category, Super Typhoon Tip, which also had winds in the same range and pressure that fell into the 870mb range.
So how often do we see these kinds of “Super storms?” Not often. However, when they do occur, they have been more likely to occur in the western Pacific Ocean, which has to do with the large area of ocean waters. Hot ocean waters in that entire region, from Guam to the Philippines, can hit temps in the 80’s and 90’s.
Here are some facts about this storm. It formed just to the south-southeast of Guam in very warm waters. It also had very little wind shear during its entire life, along with the dynamics in place for this storm to do nothing but gain strength. This is why when meteorologists look at tropical systems, we say that if a tropical system has warm water and little vertical wind shear, watch out. The potential is there for a storm to become strong, and Super Typhoon Haiyan showed us that.
The track that this storm took was controlled by the sub-tropical high-pressure center, which favored a westward moving storm. There is one good thing to look at in this storm and that is that the direction of it caused it to make landfall south of Manila, which could have been even more destructive. However, don’t get me wrong, this storm was still destructive in making landfall near Cebu. Wind damage has just been historic in this region. Flooding rains, the mudslides going on and the storm surge all have piled up in this region, creating a very gloomy image for the area.
This storm will be remembered for years to come just by the shear size and strength that it had. The storm is now moving over the Philippines and towards southeast China or Vietnam.
A few last minute notes on this storm to help you imagine what’s going on in the Philippines right now. Remember back to the days of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane (or Super Storm) Sandy. Those two storms were nothing compared to this storm. So you remember seeing all the damage that was done during those storms. Now you can better see what damage is being made by this monster.
Also, as you’re searching for other images of this storm to learn more about it, make sure to use the name Yolanda, as this is what they call the storm in the Philippines.
Featured Image Credit: behindlens / Shutterstock