Super typhoon Haiyan carved a path of death and destruction from the central Philippines and into northern Vietnam - With the most devastating effects in Tacloban City and the southeast tip of Samar. About 2,500 people are dead and Tacloban City (with nearly a half a million residents) has been almost completely destroyed after being hit with a massive storm surge and winds gusting around 200 MPH! This is one of the strongest tropical cyclones to make landfall at such intensity. Damage inflicted by the wind alone can be on par to a violent tornado. Afterwards, lack of food and water, as well as massive civilian un-rest, looting, and desperation followed. In the graphic below, three unbelievable satellite and radar (base reflectivity) views of the storm during its first landfall play out. The symmetry (annular, "truck-tire" appearance of the cyclone core area) and intensity (195 MPH winds) make this storm both a terrifying and breathtaking sight.
In the lower part of the image, the main damage inflicted to Tacloban City appears to be disintegration of nearly every structure, including trees (with some trees even showing violent tornado-like damage, such as debarking). How anyone can survive being in something like this is hard to understand (including the group of chasers I know that actually were in the northern part of Tacloban City - Maybe that area of Tacloban City was a bit north of the strongest winds)? Even more alarming was the sense of complacency before the storm. The chase groups there reporting people drinking and playing pool at bars, restaurants still busy, and markets still had all their supplies (no long lines) nor any evacuations. These poor people had no idea what was coming just hours later. All chase teams (iCyclone group, CNN, and Jim Edds) fared OK during the storm, but one member was injured saving the lives of some locals at their battered hotel. All were airlifted out of the area to Cebu City, and eventually made it out of the area. I'm both envy of them, but at the same time, grateful they're OK and hope they don't get mentally perturbed on what they did and / or saw.
The onslaught of typhoons in the western Pacific basin continues. In early November 2013 super typhoon Haiyan (with category-5 winds) blasted its way into the Philippines after skirting just north of the island of Palau, eventually making landfall in Vietnam. Some folks from the iCyclone team (who live in Hong Kong as well as California) and Jim Edds have been intercepting these storms as the tropical Atlantic remains stone-dead. These folks were there for this beast in the Philippines and barely got out afterwards.
Wind shear and dry air were nowhere to be found in the western Pacific in 2013! In the IR satellite image above, super typhoon Haiyan (with at least 190 MPH winds) is just about to make landfall in the Philippines on November 8, 2013. And YES - The arrow points to the location a group of storm chasers in Tacloban City just about when they were to take a direct-hit with the right-quadrant of this storm! This is one of the strongest tropical cyclones to make landfall in history. If the Atlantic remains quiet the next few years, I will have to consider heading out for these storms myself!