CHINA — What was once Super Typhoon Haiyan that slammed, destroyed, and decimated The Philippines this weekend has now been downgraded to a category one storm as it hits northern Vietnam and the southern coast of China. The attached satellite photo of Haiyan (Sunday evening) shows the location of the once storm dubbed super typhoon.
More than 10,000 people are feared dead from the fourth most powerful tropical system ever recorded on the planet! When it trounced over the Philippines, Haiyan hit the islands with sustained winds of 195 miles per hour, and gusts of 235 mph. There was very little standing after the winds and 25 to 30 foot storm surge ripped through the entire region. Comparing the typhoon to tornadic winds, EF five tornadoes carry winds of 200 mph or greater, so this was equal to/and even exceeded that status.
If there is any good news here, Haiyan is a category one storm with winds just over 75 miles per hour now. Unfortunately, another six inches of rain is possible from this system along mountainous terrain, which could create life-threatening floods and mudslides.
For us here in the western hemisphere, people probably wonder what’s the difference between a typhoon and hurricane? The answer? Nothing. Both are tropical systems that have low pressure at their center of circulation and are what meteorologists refer to as warm-core. While southeast Asia is traditionally a “hotbed” for tropical systems, this year is certainly no exception with Haiyan being the 29th named storm. Other names for hurricanes around the world include tropical cyclones and/or just plain cyclones. What they’re called are region specific depending upon where one lives in the world. They all rotate counterclockwise north of the equator and most form within ten to 15 degrees north of it. They get their strength and power from evaporating massive quantities of warm ocean water.