Update Sunday Nov. 10: Sadly we have to report officials in the Philippines feared the death toll could climb to 10,000 in the province of Leyte, as a new day dawned on the Pacific islands ravaged by one of the most powerful storms ever recorded. Chief superintendent Elmer Soria, a regional police director, said most of the deaths appear to have been caused by surging sea water strewn with debris and collapsed buildings, The Associated Press reported.
“We have an estimate given on the casualties, more or less 10,000 (dead), according to this report, for the whole province of Leyte,” Soria said. He said he had been briefed by Leyte provincial Gov. Dominic Petilla late Saturday. Tacloban city administrator Tecson Lim told the AP the number of deaths in the city alone “could go up to 10,000.” Tacloban is a city of 200,000 people, the biggest on Leyte Island.
Update Saturday Nov. 9: Unfortunately we have to report that Haiyan has turned out not only to be one of the most damaging storms in history, but also one of the deadliest as well. As of this morning, the death toll from Typhoon Haiyan has reached 1200 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of the Philippines.
Update Friday Nov. 8: Typhoon Haiyan officially broke all previous records coming on shore with winds clocked at 235 MPH! this makes this typhoon one of the three largest storms in recorded history. Damage is extensive, but loss of life has been exceptionally low given the nature and intensity of this storm.
One of the strongest storms ever slammed into the Philippines early Friday, packing wind speeds so high that weather experts said were poised to make it the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded at landfall. Certainly within the top ten storms of all time!
“There will be catastrophic damage,” Jeff Masters, a former hurricane meteorologist who is meteorology director at the private firm Weather Underground, told The Associated Press. Typhoon Haiyan’s maximum sustained winds were 195 mph, according to the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii. Thousands of villagers fled as the most powerful storm on the planet this year approached the Philippines on Thursday. Haiyan was rated as a category-five storm early Thursday, according to Weather Channel lead meteorologist Michael Palmer. He warned that the storm was likely to cause widespread devastation and “a significant loss of life.”
A Philippine Coast Guard chaplain blesses rubber boats during a ceremony in Manila on Wednesday. PCG Chief Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena ordered the boats in preparation for the super typhoon Haiyan.
“It’s a very poor country and there is not really any place for these people to go because they are on an island,” Palmer added. “There was a similar typhoon that struck in 1990 which killed 700 people so you are going to see that here, maybe even worse.” He added: “It is a perfectly symmetrical storm with the eye completely clear so it is as strong as you can get.”
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center said it was the strongest tropical cyclone in the world this year. Areas in the path of the storm were already experiencing strong winds and heavy rains early Thursday and officials grounded ferry services, called in fishing boats and shut schools.
This comes on top of the island nation reeling after the earthquake on Monday that left at least 85 people are dead and hundreds injured. Authorities are hopeful that the number of casualties was reduced because of the number of schools and local offices that were closed for the Muslim holiday of Eid ad-Adha.
Haiyan is expected to lose strength after leaving the Philippines and go on to hit Vietnam with wind speeds of up to 125 mph on Saturday and Sunday, Palmer said.
The Pacific region has been devastated this year by these massive and numerous storms.