Super Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into the Philippines on Thursday, has grown into one of the strongest tropical cyclones to make landfall in recorded history.
Haiyan’s winds grew to speeds of 190 – 195 mph as it barreled across the Philippines on Friday — speeds that, according to WunderBlog, haven’t been seen since Hurricane Camille in 1969, which sustained 190 mph winds when it made landfall in Mississippi. Along with its extreme sustained wind speeds, Haiyan’s gusts have reached up to 235 mph.
So far, four people have been reported killed and seven injured, and more than 100,000 have taken shelter in evacuation centers. More than 12 million people live in the storm’s path, and some of the worst-hit areas have been cut off from communication and power. In the regions that are able to communicate, officials are reporting destruction, as CNN reports:
Gov. Roger Mercado of Southern Leyte, a province in Eastern Visayas close to the storm’s path, said Friday morning that “all roads” were impassable because of fallen trees. He said it was too soon to gauge the level of devastation caused by Haiyan.
“We don’t know the extent of the damage,” Mercado said. “We are trying to estimate this. We are prepared, but this is really a wallop.”
CREDIT: AP Photo/NOAA
Forecasters predict that the storm will retain its 4 or 5 Super Typhoon category as it passes across the Philippines, and will reach Vietnam as a Category 3 typhoon on November 10.
The Philippines are no stranger to typhoons — around 20 hit the island nation each year. Just last December, Super Typhoon Bopha slammed into the country with 175 mph winds, causing widespread destruction and killing nearly 650 people.
The Philippines has appealed for international help on the role of climate change in such weather events before. During last year’s international climate talks in Doha, which were underway when Super Typhoon Bopha made landfall, the lead negotiator for the Philippines broke down as he asked participating countries to do something about climate change, saying the country had “never had a typhoon like Bopha.”
“I appeal to all, please, no more delays, no more excuses,” he said. “Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around. Please, let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?”
This year’s international climate talks will begin next week in Warsaw.