Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever seen, hit the Philippines with record force
MAAMB: This typhoon broke the scale. Pak!
By Eric Holthaus | Quartz
The storm (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) has officially maxed out the Dvorak scale, which is used to measure strong strength using satellites. That means Haiyan has approached the theoretical maximum intensity for any storm, anywhere. From the latest NOAA bulletin:
DVORAK TECHNIQUE MAKES NO ALLOWANCE FOR AN EYE EMBEDDED SO DEEPLY IN CLOUD TOPS AS COLD [AS THIS]
Put another way, the most commonly used satellite-based intensity scale just wasn’t designed to handle a storm this strong. At its peak, one real-time estimate of the storm’s intensity actually ticked slightly above the maximum to 8.1 on an 8.0 scale. This meteorologist, for one, has never seen that before.
It’s nearly inconceivable that any weather station would survive such conditions for very long to verify, so we may never know exactly how strong this storm was. There have only been a handful of storms anywhere on Earth (pdf) that have reached this estimated intensity—and only three since 1969. Such strong storms usually remain out at sea where wind speed verification is impossible without aircraft.
MAAMB: Already battering the south, it’s eerily calm where I am. We’re expecting it to kick off for us this evening. They’ll cut the power later, and I’ve got posts in the queue and food, water and a sturdy house which is more than I can say for so many Filipinos.
Preparations have been going on for days, but the humanitarian and environmental disaster of this storm is, for me right now, inconceivable. The news is already brimming with images of disaster and flooding in the islands at the frontline. With the human suffering comes damage to coastal ecosystems which this country heavily relies on, and to add insult to injury, an untold amount of trash and debris will be washed out to sea.
One of the islands closest to my heart, Malapascua, home of the diving industry centred around Thresher Sharks was hit early this morning. Reports of 7m storm surges are flying around the internet. I can’t even comprehend the damage to that tiny island, where people will definitely be stuck since storm warnings have cancelled boats.
We’re going to need your help after this, of that I have no doubt.
I would like to invite any climate change deniers to come join us here in the Philippines for the next 24 hours.
Thank you all for your well-wishes, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m not on the direct path of the storm. Send your thoughts to those who aren’t so fortunate, and after the storm, send them your food/medicine/money/clothes.