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Largest and Most Intense Tropical Cyclone On Record Hits the Philippines 160

Posted by Soulskill
from the be-safe dept.
mrspoonsi writes "A monstrous storm has arisen in the Western Pacific. The storm, called 'Supter-Typhoon Haiyan', has become the year's most intense. It bore down on the central Philippines this morning, packing winds up to 195 mph (314 km/h), with gusts up to 235 mph (378 km/h), threatening massive damage and sending over 100,000 people into evacuation centers. (Animation of landfall.) Flood waters went as high as 10 feet. The secretary general of the Philippine National Red Cross said, 'About 90% of the infrastructure and establishments were heavily damaged.'"
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Largest and Most Intense Tropical Cyclone On Record Hits the Philippines

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  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Friday November 08, 2013 @11:19AM (#45368153) Homepage
    From the article:

    It's estimated central pressure is 899 mb but it could be lower. The lower the pressure the stronger the storm. Since 1987, there have been only four storms in the western Pacific with a central pressure below 899 mb (Megi in 2010, 885 mb; Flo in 1990 890 mb; Ruth in 1991 895 mb; and Yuri in 1991 895 mb)

    • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Friday November 08, 2013 @11:40AM (#45368417)
      There is a correlation between central pressure and wind speed but there are other factors affecting wind speed, such as the storm's mass (size) and wind mixing depths. This is why the NHC uses dropsondes rather than relying on pressure measurements or satellite estimates.
      • by Solandri (704621) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:37PM (#45371347)
        Stepping back from the min/max recordkeeping for a bit, the size of the storm also makes a huge difference in the amount of damage it causes. Even if a storm is powerful, its impact may be minimal if it's small in size. From what I can tell from news reports, Haiyan is about half the diameter of the largest and strongest typhoon on record - Typhoon Tip [wikipedia.org]. About 2200 km vs about 1200 km.

        The diameter (extent of tropical storm-force winds) of hurricane Katrina was about 600 km, which is rather large for a storm. Hurricane Sandy (largest on record in the Atlantic) was about 1500 km across. I have to remind my European friends about this when they comment about the long recovery time from these storms for a "so-called" first-world nation. These storms were as large or larger than entire European countries - recovery efforts in an area that large are going to be slow even in a first-world country.

        The rate of travel and rainfall amounts matter too. Hurricane Mitch [wikipedia.org] was only a category 1 when it made landfall and a tropical storm or tropical depression most of its time over land, but it's the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record because it lingered for almost two weeks dropping torrential rain causing massive flooding and landslides.
        • Apparently this one has already passed over the Philippines and at first glance, damage wasn't as bad as they thought it was going to be, because it was moving so fast (25 mph) [nytimes.com]. So it didn't linger over land like other lesser and slower moving hurricanes did; ones that caused far more damage.
    • by afidel (530433) on Friday November 08, 2013 @12:12PM (#45368749)

      There's only been ONE hurricane to ever make landfall in the US with that low a pressure, the 1935 labor day hurricane. To put the numbers in perspective Sandy made landfall at 945mb and Katrina at 920mb.

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday November 08, 2013 @12:52PM (#45369299)

        There's only been ONE hurricane to ever make landfall in the US with that low a pressure, the 1935 labor day hurricane.

        Hurricanes (and typhoons) lose strength when they move over cooler water, so the strongest storms are those that stay in the tropics as they proceed westward. So the most intense Atlantic storms make landfall in Central America rather than the US coast. Wilma (2005) was the most intense Atlantic storm ever recorded, at 882 mbar, and Gilbert was a close second at 882 mbar. Both made landfall in Central America.

        • And the Pacific basin is larger. More space for the hurricane to develop without hitting land.

          • And the Pacific basin is larger. More space for the hurricane to develop without hitting land.

            True, but that only explains part of it. The South Pacific is even larger than the North Pacific, but fewer big storms occur there. In fact, there are fewer big storms anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Oceans in the Southern Hemisphere tend to be cooler because of the Antarctic icebox, and the wind shear is stronger and can tear apart storms before they really get started.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          I reckon people care more about sustained wind speeds and gust speeds though...

          it's not like you're going to pop or crush from the pressure itself..

        • by Solandri (704621)
          Katrina and Rita grew to such enormous strength and size due to freakishly warm water in the Gulf of Mexico that year. So it's not impossible for powerful storms to hit the U.S. (the 1935 labor day hurricane was measured at 892 mbar at landfall).
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Let's also be clear that no direct measurements were took. Everything about the storm from its windspeed to minimum pressure is an estimate based on meteorological theory. Only in the Atlantic basin do they fly aircraft into cyclones and actually figure out what the pressure and wind-speed actually are.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Typhoons are ranked your pressure? :P

  • In the Philippines they call it Yolanda. Why does it have two different names?

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Friday November 08, 2013 @11:27AM (#45368277)

    I imagine the suffering from this storm will be severe and can only hope that the help was mobilized before the storm struck. These storm victims are going to need everything to survive. Food, housing and medical care as well as tools and livestock to start over could save countless lives. Imagine a storm that severe striking Miami or New York.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Friday November 08, 2013 @11:29AM (#45368291)
    The Saffir scale tops out Level 5, > 157 mph. But each level increases about 20-25 mph. It is essentially a 500 mile wide tornado.
    • And as the wind power increases as the cube of the wind speed, a level 5 can do substantially more damage than a level 4.
      • by mc6809e (214243)

        And as the wind power increases as the cube of the wind speed, a level 5 can do substantially more damage than a level 4.

        I think force is a better measure of strength since many structures fail at some threshold amount of force which varies as the square of wind speed. A wall might withstand the force of a 120 mph wind but fail at 130 mph or a shed might handle a 70 mph wind but fail at 80 mph. The amount of damage then varies with the number of structures vulnerable to the maximum force applied to them by

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I saw the number 500, and immediately thought of this [imdb.com]. While not quite 500 MPH, this one got up to 378 km/h, which makes me think 500 km/h isn't impossible. Living in Canada, in an area where there fiercest winds we have are 100 km/h, It's hard to imaging how strong a 378 km/h wind is. Especially since E = (m * v^2)/2. which means the Energy of the wind is increases as a function of the square of the speed.
      • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 08, 2013 @11:46AM (#45368479) Homepage

        Living in Canada, in an area where there fiercest winds we have are 100 km/h

        Really? Really? Come on man, I'm in Alberta right now and we see 120km/h and 130km/h gusts through the mountains, and we haven't even hit on tornado's, updrafts(favorite in southern ontario), microbursts, and those lovely unpredictable t-storms in the summer that spawn in the lakes, or prairies. We sure do see winds higher than 100km/h.

        • Yes we see wind gusts well over 100KM/H, but very little sustained like what would would get out of a hurricane. It makes a large difference on structures. Even those storms that pass by the east coats rarely step over that threshold.
          • by Mashiki (184564)

            Yes we see wind gusts well over 100KM/H, but very little sustained like what would would get out of a hurricane.

            I see you've never been to the north or south of Alberta. Sustained winds in the 110km/h range are common, in fact they can be bad enough to shut down highways to truck traffic.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Canada's a big place. I live near in Ottawa. Rarely do we see sustained winds above 100 km/h. No tornados in this area either (although further south in Ontario sees a few small ones).
          • by Mashiki (184564)

            Canada's a big place. I live near in Ottawa. Rarely do we see sustained winds above 100 km/h. No tornados in this area either (although further south in Ontario sees a few small ones).

            Ottawa is the odd man out in the province, rarely do you see much of anything outside of severe thunderstorms. And while you don't see tornado's you do have them up that way, and further south in Ontario, we get into the northern tip of tornado alley. And if you mean "small" as in F4 and EF3's then I guess...that's small. Really even as densely packed as southern ontario is, we miss a few of them and only can guess due to reported damage, further into northern ontario there are plenty as well, the diffe

        • Just south of the Canadian border, in Cleveland, we experienced well over 120kph (70mph) winds from Sandy, probably closer to 140kph, although, in fairness, that was a once-in-recorded-history event. 100kph is quite common and all of our structures are designed to handle that, although trees are not, and often fall during storms, sometimes killing people when they do. We also get frequent tornadoes, as do, at least, the Canadian cities closest to us (London, Windsor, Niagara Falls, and Toronto). Most tor
        • Reading comprehension fail.

          He didn't say Canada never sees winds above 100 kph.

          He said he lives in an area of Canada that never sees winds above 100 kph.

          Big difference.

          For the record, the Interior of BC where I live sees gusts above 100 kph. Not very often, though, and rarely for very long.

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            Reading comprehension fail.

            Says the person who missed the implied "words between the lines."

  • Remember kids, this is weather, not climate, and just natural a oscillation of the normal pattern.
    We sure couldn't afford to have this sort of shit every year.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Clearly China's fault. [wikipedia.org]
  • by karchie (560701) on Friday November 08, 2013 @11:44AM (#45368459) Homepage
    I'm no meteorologist but those wind speeds would make this an F4 tornado. We get tornadoes here in the middle of North America, but they don't last for days. Good luck to everybody there.
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      With gusts up to an EF-5.

    • I'm no meteorologist but those wind speeds would make this an F4 tornado. We get tornadoes here in the middle of North America, but they don't last for days. Good luck to everybody there.

      Very strong tropical cyclones like this one do contain very high sustained winds equivalent to what you would find in a significant (F3 or higher) tornado, which is why the NWS occasionally issues blanket tornado warnings for areas lying in the path of the most intense and dangerous part of a hurricane's eyewall, which is usually the NE quadrant. The practice is controversial, though, and has been inconsistently applied. Keep in mind that wind speed isn't everything when it comes to how much damage is done

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday November 08, 2013 @11:58AM (#45368591) Journal
    That US bases there. Plenty of extra help.
  • Some relief agencies (Score:5, Informative)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Friday November 08, 2013 @12:02PM (#45368641)

    I'm sure that the relief agencies would be happy to take a donation. I think these are correct, but double check for yourself. I apologize for not including everybody, please don't let that stop you from making a donation.

    American Red Cross [redcross.org]
    British Red Cross [redcross.org.uk]
    Canadian Red Cross [redcross.ca]
    Australian Red Cross [redcross.org.au]
    New Zealand Red Cross [redcross.org.nz]
    Irish Red Cross [redcross.ie]
    Deutsches Rotes Kreuz [www.drk.de]
    Croix-Rouge Francaise [croix-rouge.fr]
    Röda Korset [redcross.se]
    Røde Kors [rodekors.no]
    Røde Kors [rodekors.dk]
    Rode Kruis [rodekruis.nl]
    Schweizerisches Rotes Kreuz [redcross.ch]
    Croce Rossa Italiana [cri.it]
    Cruz Roja Española [cruzroja.es]
    Polski Czerwony Krzyz [www.pck.pl]

    Salvation Army donations [salvationarmy.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can't donate because they don't accept Bitcoins or World of Warcraft gold.

  • But winds of 195MPH and up would decimate most of the eastern coast of the U.S. that's insane.
  • by jcgam69 (994690) on Friday November 08, 2013 @12:16PM (#45368787)
    A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the PI a few weeks ago which cause widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure. Bridges collapsed and many roads are still impassible. The earthquake and hundreds of strong aftershocks serve to intensify the effects of this storm.
    • by The Raven (30575)

      A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the PI a few weeks ago which cause widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure. Bridges collapsed and many roads are still impassible. The earthquake and hundreds of strong aftershocks serve to intensify the effects of this storm.

      In case it is not fully clear... the earthquake exacerbated the effect on human infrastructure and safety. It did not intensify the windspeed or lower the pressure of the storm.

      I'm sure 99% of people will read it in this manner, I just want to forestall the 'earthquakes cause superstorms' correlation.

    • by asifyoucare (302582) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:33PM (#45370631)

      So, a 7.1 quake and a huge typhoon?

      Did someone forget to sacrifice a goat or something?

      • by dlingman (1757250)

        No, this is what you get if you sacrifice the wrong colour of goat. Forgetting the entire goat earns you a free visit from Balmer.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How about using metric system (ISO standard)?

  • by Sara Chan (138144) on Friday November 08, 2013 @01:03PM (#45369421)
    Typhoon Ida (1958) [wikipedia.org] had sustained winds of 200mph. That means that the energy in its winds was about 5% greater than the energy in the 195mph winds of Typhoon Haiyan (squaring speed to get approximate wind energy).
    • by FirstOne (193462)

      Super typhoon Ida achieved it's maximum intensity well out at sea when it had a tiny eye, similar to Wilma when it rapidly intensified in it's early stages. Ida subsequently lost most of energy before it landfall in Japan as a cat-3.

      Meanwhile Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall at near peak intensity with an eye wall diameter of nearly 20km..

      .

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Friday November 08, 2013 @01:38PM (#45369857)

    ...hopefully they'll leave the cholera at home this time.

  • "... called 'Supter-Typhoon Haiyan'" yes, apparently, but _meant_ to be called 'Super-Typhoon Haiyan.' One typo should not be allowed to propagate so far across the internet. Next thing people will be misspelling 'colour' everywhere, or something equally ludicrous.
  • I made a bit of a joke the other day, but I hope that the DOD is pushing a large number of ppl into there to help. Like Haiti, Philippines has a long and complicated history with the USA, and we need to help.

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