Update, November 7, 1541 Eastern: Just found this live coverage of landfall from Down Under, in English – not familiar with the poster, WestPacWx, but he seems to know what he’s talking about:
Better late than never for this useful link. Also, I updated the “Major Tropical Cyclone” post, though am not live-blogging Haiyan (Special note: In the Philippines, PAGASA calls this Yolanda. In the Western media, at least, it seems most popularly known as Haiyan).
It’s just that this particular typhoon is a historic one – right now sustained winds are almost 200 mph, with gusts up to 230 mph. I had to go to Jupiter for a comparison.
The poor Philippines. This is going to be a huge disaster there, though other countries in Haiyan’s path, even when the storm will be weaker, will suffer, too.
The eyewall is about to approach the Philippines. The eyewall is still out to sea, but heavy rains and strong winds are engulfing the islands. This supertyphoon is moving relatively quickly at 18 knots, but with something this powerful in terms of both wind and heavy rainfall (which will be measured in feet) that’s not much of a benefit.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (there’s also a link to them at Digital Typhoon) estimates wave heights of 50 feet at sea right now. I have no idea what the the surge will be (updated: see “Major Cyclone” post for details – highest surge 5.3 meters/17.4 feet) but keep in mind that wave heights come on top of surge. Factor in flooding, landslides, etc., plus wind damage in addition to that.
It seems particularly cruel that this is happening to a country that’s also racked by major earthquakes and huge volcanic eruptions, but in fact there is a boon to the rugged topography all that geologic action has resulted in – it is the only thing that can and will rapidly weaken Haiyan.
If the Philippines were flat, they’d look like the “after” shots in John Ford’s Hurricane (1937). As it is, a lot of that movie’s extraordinary FX will happen in real life there.