Today we urge our Cyclone Center users to pause and send positive thoughts to our friends in the Philippines.
Evacuations are underway as Super Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) makes its way directly towards the country. Intensifying without restraint since Sunday, Haiyan is now a Super typhoon, which is equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Haiyan currently has winds near 170 kt (195 mph).
Moving west northwestward, Haiyan is expected to make landfall in the Philippines early Friday morning. Because of the very warm water temperatures along her path, Haiyan is expected to maintain her status as a super typhoon through landfall.
With this super typhoon comes potentially severe damage. Haiyan is likely to bring heavy rainfall, severe flooding, damaging strong winds, and mudslides into very heavily populated areas of the Philippines. The forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center are encouraging evacuations across the country, especially in the central Philippines, in preparation for the biggest storm of the 2013 season thus far. She is the fifth super typhoon to form this year in the western Pacific.
– Kelly Dobeck is an undergraduate student in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She recently joined the Cyclone Center team as a classifier and contributor to our social media.