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Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan of November 2013, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, is one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. The thirtieth named storm, thirteenth typhoon, and fifth super-typhoon of the 2013 Pacific typhoon season, Haiyan originated as an area of low pressure east-southeast of Pohnpei in the western Pacific Ocean on November 2. Tracking generally westward, the disturbance steadily developed within an environment of light wind shear and warm sea surface temperatures, becoming a tropical depression early the following day. After becoming a tropical storm and attaining the name Haiyan at 0000 UTC on November 4, the system began a period of rapid intensification that brought it to typhoon intensity by 1800 UTC on November 5. With an expanding and deepening central dense overcast and clear eye visible on satellite, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) upgraded Haiyan to a super typhoon—a typhoon in which maximum sustained winds attain or exceed 240 km/h (150 mph)—early on November 6. After entering PAGASA’s region of responsibility, the JTWC upgraded Haiyan to a Category 5 equivalent on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.

Steered by a subtropical ridge to the cyclone’s north, the eye of Haiyan passed over the northern portion of Palau, where extensive wind damage was observed. Thereafter, it continued to intensify; at 1200 UTC on November 7, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) upgraded the storm’s maximum ten-minute sustained winds to 235 km/h (145 mph), the highest in relation to the cyclone. At 1800 UTC, the JTWC estimated the system’s one-minute sustained winds to 315 km/h (195 mph), unofficially making Haiyan the fourth most intense tropical cyclone ever observed. Several hours later, the eye of the cyclone made its first landfall in the Philippines at Guiuan, Eastern Samar, without any change in intensity; if verified, this would make Haiyan the strongest tropical cyclone to make a landfall on record, which may surpass the old record of 305 km/h (190 mph) set by Hurricane Camille in 1969. On November 8, the cyclone entered the South China Sea and was downgraded to a Category 4 typhoon by the JTWC. Readings indicated that Typhoon Haiyan dropped to Category 3 as it traversed the South China Sea, with gusts of up to 210 km/h (130 mph) and 1-minute sustained winds of up to 190 km/h (120 mph).

The cyclone caused devastation in the Philippines, particularly on Samar Island and Leyte, where at least 10,000 people are estimated to have died in the city of Tacloban alone.

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