Want to be a reporter or would you like to buy a report for the best price?
Just Sign Up here!
Privacy guidelines License our content Help
Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever observed, made landfall Friday morning in the Philippines, the country's weather service reported, reports CNN.
Thousands of people in vulnerable areas of the central Philippines were evacuated as the monster storm spun toward the country. With sustained winds of 315 kph (195 mph) and gusts as strong as 380 kph (235 mph), Haiyan churned across the Western Pacific into the Philippines. Its wind strength makes it equivalent to an exceptionally strong Category 5 hurricane.
Haiyan will move over the many islands of the central Philippines over the next 18 hours before exiting into the South China Sea overnight Friday into Saturday. Haiyan will weaken slightly as the storm crosses land, but forecasters with the Philippine weather agency, Pagasa, predict that it will maintain super typhoon intensity throughout its passage of the islands. The storm, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, is so large in diameter that clouds from it are affecting two-thirds of the country, which extends over 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles).
Authorities in the region had moved more than 3,800 people to evacuation centers by late Thursday, Maj. Reynaldo Balido of the Philippine Office of Civil Defense said. Most of those relocated live in Tacloban City, which sits on the coast of the island of Leyte and has a population of more than 200,000.
In a speech Thursday, President Benigno S. Aquino III warned residents of the "calamity our countrymen will face in these coming days." "Let me repeat myself: This is a very real danger, and we can mitigate and lessen its effects if we use the information available to prepare," he said. The government has three C-130 cargo aircraft ready to respond, as well as 32 planes and helicopters from the air force, the president said. Officials have placed relief supplies in the areas that are expected to get hit, Aquino said. "The effects of this storm can be eased through solidarity," he said.
As it moves across heavily populated areas of the central Philippines, Haiyan's high winds and torrential rain are expected to affect more than 25 million people. The storm system had a diameter of about 800 kilometers (500 miles) as of Friday. Pagasa warned more than 30 provinces across the country Thursday to be prepared for possible flash floods and landslides.
Schools in many areas canceled classes, emergency services were put on high alert, and airlines canceled flights. Some of the most vulnerable people are those living in makeshift shelters on the central Philippine island of Bohol.