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One of the Strongest Hurricanes Ever Seen Is About to Hit the Philippines

Since detailed observations began, only three hurricanes on Earth have been this strong

 

Image: NOAA

There’s a new strongest hurricane of the year. Its name is Haiyan, and it’s maybe, also, one of the strongest hurricanes ever. Super Typhoon Haiyan is on track to hit the Philippines, bringing 17 foot waves and 230 mile per hour winds as it runs over the archipelago later in the day. The Weather Channel:

Haiyan will be accompanied by torrential rainfall, damaging winds and life-threatening storm surge, particularly in low-lying areas of onshore flow. The heavy rainfall will likely cause flooding and raise the risk of mudslides.

The year’s previous strongest storm, tropical cyclone Phailin, which hit India not even a month ago, had wind gusts at up to 190 miles per hour. That’s the measured sustained wind speed up Haiyan. According to Jeff Masters for Wunderground:

Super Typhoon Haiyan is one of the most intense tropical cyclones in world history… Since 1969, only three tropical cyclones have equaled Haiyan’s 190 mph sustained winds–the Western Pacific’s Super Typhoon Tip of 1979, the Atlantic’s Hurricane Camille of 1969, and the Atlantic’s Hurricane Allen of 1980.

Where Phailin was set to cause widespread damage, a massive evacuation managed to mitigate most of the loss of time. Hopefully, with similar evacuation orders in place for the Philippines, Haiyan, too, can pass by as a record breaker, but not a tragedy.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Hurricane Phailin Is As Strong as Katrina, Twice as Wide as Sandy And About to Devastate India

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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