The Philippines are about to get a direct hit from what looks to be one of the strongest storms ever recorded. Super Typhoon Haiyan currently has max sustained winds at 190 mph with gusts to 230 mph, and the central pressure is down to 905 mb. To put this into perspective, this is equivalent to a very strong category 5 hurricane. On the Saffir-Simpson scale, a hurricane becomes a category 5 storm once its max sustained winds reach 157 mph or greater, and as you can see, Super Typhoon Haiyan is well beyond that point.
Super Typhoon Haiyan is currently moving at a quick 25 mph in a west northwest direction and is expected to hit the central Philippines in just a few hours. The majority of the evacuations have occurred in Tacloban City, which is a city of over 200,000.
The region that is likely to be impacted the most by this super typhoon is the same area that was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake just a month ago. This earthquake was responsible for killing over 200 and displacing around 350,000. Since the residents of the Philippines are still trying to recover from this deadly earthquake, this could make the impact even greater as Super Typhoon Haiyan moves through the island.
Along with catastrophic winds, the Philippines can also expect massive flooding, which will likely result in mudslides. We will continue to monitor the latest on this deadly typhoon and will keep you updated on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Matthew Holliday is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he completed a B.S. in Meteorology and a B.S. in Geographic Information Science. He is currently pursing his master's degree in meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University. Matthew founded Firsthand Weather in 2010 as a senior in high school and maintained the site through his undergraduate career. Research that was conducted by Matthew while at OU involved determining the synoptic environment in which various types of wave clouds (including vertically propagating waves and trapped waves) develop in Boulder, Colorado and Norman, OK. Matthew also did research on spatial changes in tornado activity across the United States . The goal of this study was to determine if spatial changes in tornado activity had occurred and if those changes could be linked to changes in average surface dew point temperature. Matthew has completed coursework in dynamics, thermodynamics, cloud physics, calculus and differential equations, statistics, remote sensing, GIS, synoptic meteorology, and mesoscale meteorology. His goal is to provide his audience with a deeper understanding of what drives our weather and climate, while making it easy and enjoyable to learn.