Haiyan, the category 5 super typhoon, is depicted approaching the Philippines, outlined on left in pink.
The Philippines is bracing for the inevitable landfall of Haiyan, the Category 5 super typhoon. Haiyan is believed to be the strongest storm created on the entire planet this year, with winds over 160 mph. The Pacific archipelago is still hurting from super typhoon Bopha, which struck in December 2012. Bopha had winds peaking at 175 mph and killed hundreds of people on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines.
Haiyan has intensified more or less continuously since Sunday, and will likely make landfall on Friday. Some say that Haiyan’s most intense winds have reached 180 mph. The storm could continue to intensify between now and the time when it makes landfall (when contact with the land will slow it down), but most believe that Haiyan is at or close to its maximum strength.
Haiyan is projected to eventually continue on to Vietnam, but it will likely have slowed considerably then, though it could still be quite dangerous. Estimates have the super typhoon downgraded to winds of 105 mph when it hits around Hue, a tailor town in central Vietnam. Haiyan is currently over the tiny island nation of Palau, where winds of 72 mph were recorded.
Manila, the Philippines dense capital is expected to weather winds of 50 to 75 mph. Not as severe as other parts of the Philippines, but due to the density of Manila, that is where Haiyan may do some of its worst damage to lives and property.