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‘Yolanda’ to go down in history

Mega-typhoon. Monster storm. Super typhoon. It has been called a lot of names because Yolanda, internationally called Haiyan, will definitely go down in history books.

News reports say Yolanda could possibly be the strongest typhoon in world history.

Blue wet umbrella for keeping you dry

Haiyan is Chinese for “petrel,” a kind of long-winged seabird that fly far from land. As if living up to its name, the typhoon had a wide cloud cover spanning 600 kilometers, capable of blanketing the entire Visayas region and parts of Luzon and Mindanao.

Formed in a very favorable condition over the Pacific Ocean last Monday, Yolanda reached massive maximum sustained winds of 235 kilometers per hour (kph) and fierce gustiness of up to 275 kph before its landfall.

At least 48 hours before its projected landfall, it already grew into a super typhoon upon reaching 215 kph of peak wind intensity.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Yolanda could have reached its peak strength Thursday morning but it continued to grow into a very powerful typhoon before it hit land.

Yolanda also generated storm surge up to seven meters high along the coastlines of the country.

According to Weather Channel, only three Atlantic storms had sustained winds close to Yolanda’s magnitude, namely Hurricane Camille in 1969, super typhoon Tip in 1979, and Hurricane Allen in 1980. It added that there is no Atlantic Ocean-born storm that has ever been stronger than Yolanda.

It falls under Category 5, the highest Hurricane classification in the scale.

In the Western Pacific Ocean, Yolanda would be the strongest tropical cyclone to have formed in this region in 2013, surpassing the winds of super typhoon Lekima last October of 215 kilometers per hour (kph), which was previously the strongest Pacific storm, based on Accuweather’s report.

But if compared with the official data from the PAGASA, of the 14 typhoons given the highest storm warning Signal No. 4 since 1991, three super typhoons surpassed the peak wind intensity of Yolanda — Rosing (1995) with 255 kph, Loleng (1998) with 250 kph, and Iliang (1998) with 240 kph.

Dr. Flaviana Hilario, PAGASA Deputy Administrator for Research and Development said the weather bureau included public storm warning signal (PSWS) No. 4 only in 1991. Since then, PAGASA has issued Signal No. 4 for 15 typhoons, including Yolanda.

These super typhoons are Trining (1991), Goring (1993), Rosing (1995), Iliang (1998), Loleng (1998), Harurot (2003), Igme (2004), Yoyong (2004), Paeng (2006), Queenie (2006), Reming (2010), Juan (2010), Mina (2011), Odette (2013), and Yolanda (2013).

PAGASA also documents the most destructive tropical cyclones that hit the country based on the amount of damage and number of casualties.

From 1970 to 2012, PAGASA data provided the most disastrous tropical cyclones in terms of damage to property, infrastructure, and agriculture. It also documented the most destructive tropical cyclones in terms of deaths since the 1950s.

With regard to damage to property, infrastructure, and agriculture, the most disastrous tropical cyclone in Philippine history is typhoon “Pablo” (international name “Bopha”) with a total damage worth P36.9 billion.

It ranked third in the most number of casualties with 1,067 persons. This particular typhoon, which left massive damage and deaths in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, occurred on December 2 to 9, 2012.

However, Signal No. 3 was the highest storm warning issued in the directly hit areas in Mindanao. It reached 175 kph of maximum sustained winds and gustiness of 210 kph.

Also notable destructive tropical cyclones are typhoon “Pepeng” (international name “Parma,” September 24 to 28, 2011), which incurred total damage of P27.3 billion, followed by typhoon “Pedring” (international name “Nesat,” June 18 to 23, 2008) with P15.55 billion worth of damage; typhoon “Frank” (international name “Fengshen,” June 18 to 23, 2008), P13.5 billion; typhoon “Juan” (international name “Megi,” October 16 to 21, 2010), P11.5 billion; tropical storm “Ondoy” (international name “Ketsana,” September 24 to 27, 2009), P10.95 billion; and typhoon “Ruping” (international name “Mike,” November 8 to 14, 1990), P10.85 billion.

As regards the highest number of deaths, these tropical cyclones are on record, tropical storm “Uring” with 5,101 (1991), tropical storm “Sendong” with 1,268 (2011), typhoon “Pablo” with 1,067 (2012), typhoon “Nitang” with 1,029 (1984), typhoon “Trix” with 995 (1952), typhoon “Amy” with 991 (1951), and typhoon “Rosing” with 936 (1995).

In addition, typhoons with the highest recorded amount of rainfall are Feria (2001) with 1,085.8 millimeters (mm); Iliang (1998), 994.6 mm; Trining (1967), 979.4 mm; Susang (1974), 781.4 mm; Trining (1991), 760 mm; and Ditang (1980), 730.3 mm. The data on highest rainfall were recorded in Baguio.

  • danbloom

    why is HAIYIAN called YOLANDA in Philippines? answer reporter in taiwan at danbloom AT gmail DOT com thanks ASAP on deadline

  • danbloom

    In related news, “Haiyan” got its name a year ago under an annual
    Asian naming system which prepares a list of names a 12 months in
    advance for all countries in the region. Just an hurricanes that hit
    the U.S. each fall are named a year in advance, Asian countries use a
    similar naming calendar. Dozens of nations Asia Pacific area,
    including Taiwan and Japan and the Philippines, follow the regional
    naming system for major storms, using words in Taglog, Korean,
    Japanese and Chinese for the typhoons. In Chinese, ”haiyan” means
    “sea sparrow.”

    Sadly, Super Typhoon Haiyan was not a sea sparrow, but more like a sea
    vulture, a sea monster.

    Local newspapers and television networks in the Philippines took to
    calling the destructive storm Typhoon Yolanda,.
    according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau which called it “Haiyan.”
    “Sea sparrow” was a name chosen from a list a year ago and without any
    knowledge that Haiyan would be so devastating. (Why the Philippines
    goverment has taken to calling it “Yolanda” has not been established
    yet, but surely some savvy storm chasers will find out why later and
    explain.)

    Not all weathermen think that naming typhoons in the Pacific region is
    a good idea, however.

    “Typhoons bring nothing but negative images, [so naming them doesn't
    help],” a spokesman for Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau told the
    Taipei Times a few years ago. “It has even made the translation of
    these names, from all sorts of languages into Chinese here in Taiwan’s
    print and TV media a real headache. Previously we could easily find
    out when a typhoon in question occurred by looking up the name on an
    earlier alphabetic list of names, instead of first trawling through
    this jumbled list of countries as it is now.”

  • danbloom

    yolanda why is HAIYIAN called YOLANDA in Philippines? answer reporter in taiwan at danbloom AT gmail DOT com thanks ASAP on deadline

  • Yves Boquet

    Another way to estimate the intensity of a typhoon / hurricane / tropical cyclone is to consider the atmospheric pressure inside the eye. The lowest registered to date was 882 mb for Wilma in the Atlantic ocean (2005) and 870 mb for Tip near Guam in the Pacific ocean (1979). Any data available about the barometric pressure in the eye of Haiyan/Yolanda ?
    I am asking the president of my university here in France to organize a fundraising drive among faculty, personnel and students to send money to the relief fund organized by Ateneo de Manila.
    My thoughts and prayers to everybody in the Visayas. The best in the Philippines are the people. They deserve our best.

  • Yves Boquet

    Another way to estimate the intensity of a typhoon / hurricane / tropical cyclone is to consider the atmospheric pressure inside the eye. The lowest registered to date was 882 mb for Wilma in the Atlantic ocean (2005) and 870 mb for Tip near Guam in the Pacific ocean (1979). Any data available about the barometric pressure in the eye of Haiyan/Yolanda ?
    I am asking the president of my university here in France to organize a fundraising drive among faculty, personnel and students to send money to the relief fund organized by Ateneo de Manila.
    My thoughts and prayers to everybody in the Visayas. The best in the Philippines are the people. They deserve our best.

  • Oscar Salomon

    These data should make us all rethink if we should make changes in our building codes or standards for residential, commercial and industrial building structures and houses. The values or parameters used in these standards may have been surpassed already due to climate change or global warming. Urban planning standards must also consider the geo-hazard maps and/or study provided by Project NOAH to guide the government and the private sectors in land development and building construction. Also, the government must now upgrade its disaster/risk management program into 4 stages:preparedness,response, recovery,reconstruction/rehabilitation. Areas whether towns or cities that are constantly under these hazards and risks should be provided with permanent emergency shelters that are safe or indestructible from earthquake,typhoons, floods, landslides or fire which can provide for at least a percentage of their population especially the poor. In it will be living or sleeping quaters,medical facility, emergency power and communication center, food and water storage, command post for NDRRMC, and of course prayer room or chapel,as well as emergency vehicles on standby. It may be utilized for other functions as required by the LGU’s concerned.

  • bright eyes

    How about Typhoon Undang in Nov. 1984?

  • rockytwyman

    Please note that we are planning a community fundraiser next week at the Haitian Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rockville, Maryland. Haiti like the Phillipines had an earthquake and hurricane like event almost back to back. Devastating for the people of this country. The Haitian people know all about these tragedies that impacted their poor islands and remember how the Filipinos helped them during their crisis. .

    November 8, 2013
    Contact: Rocky Twyman at 301-768-1076

    URGENT VIGIL/COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER FOR THE PHILLIPINES, VICTIMS OF LARGEST CYLONE EVER. This Saturday, November 9, 2013, Filipino Seventh-day Adventist Church, 7412 Livingston Road, Oxon Hill, Maryland-currently meeting in Filipino-American Cultural Center-11:00 AM to 1 PM. Because of the urgency of this situation, a luncheon that takes places from 1 – to 2:30 PM will be turned into a prayer feast for the Filipino people who are suffering during this disaster. We will feed the media well who attend.

    Over 100 people from the Filipino community and representatives of The Pray at the Pump Movement (PAPM ) will hold a community prayer vigil and fundraiser for the Filipinos who have been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda in American terms. Over 750,000 individuals have been evacuated because of the disaster. According to Navy weather officials, the 235 mile wind gusts when the cyclone hit land make it the strongest ever on record. It had a monstrous 375 mile radius at its peak and is not headed for Vietnam where it could do more damage after gaining momentum from the ocean. The island was also the scene of a recent earthquake making this double whammy. Many gathered at this site have friends and relatives who live in islands. Because the power has been knocked out , they have not been able to communicate with them. Pastor Matira will lead those gathered in several seasons of prayer. Several outstanding musicians will provide songs of hope and comfort for those who are worried about their loved ones and for the safety of those impacted. The Pray at the Pump Movement (PAPM) will be on hand with a Book of Prayers for people to sign. By signing, they agree to pray without ceasing for the people and to make a contribution to ADRA, Adventist Development Relief Agency, that is providing assistance to those who are victims of the disaster. PAPM is encouraging churches across the United States to use their services on Saturday and Sunday to remember the people of the Philippines and take up special collections during this critical time. PAPM is planning a musical fundraiser in Rockville, Maryland with a Haitian church. Filipinos really helped Haiti when they went through a similar crisis complete with earthquake and hurricane.

  • bryan6band

    Pepeng was in 2009 not in 2011! Please check the dates. Pedring was in 2011.