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Perhaps the STRONGEST storm ever, Typhoon Haiyan batters Philippines

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 8th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Perhaps the strongest storm of all time, Super Typhoon Haiyan has touched down in the central Philippines, leaving widespread death and devastation in its path. Landing on Samar earlier today, streets have been flooded and power and communications have been knocked out. At least three people have been killed and four people injured on account of the violent storm, and that number is only expected to climb.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. some 125,000 took refuge in evacuation centers and hundreds of flights have been canceled.

With sustained winds of 195 miles per hour and gusts as strong as 235 miles per hour, Haiyan may be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in recorded history.

According to witnesses, the worst was over quickly, but the damage was still severe. "About 90 percent of the infrastructure and establishments were heavily damaged," Gwendolyn Pang, the secretary general of the Philippine National Red Cross said.

Twenty-five areas have been affected areas, she said. Assessment teams were prepared to enter the stricken areas as soon as conditions allowed. "We will be definitely needing more support for this one," she says. Flood waters were reported as high as 10 feet.

Officials have been overwhelmed by the storm's severity. A field communications specialist for the charity World Vision Maryann Zamora says that her organization "has been working through so many disasters, so many typhoons -- but this is quite different . This is the strongest I ever felt so far," she said by phone from the island of Cebu.

Haiyan, which is also going under the name of "Yolanda," retained much of its force as it moved westward with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, putting it well above the threshold for a Category 5 hurricane, the highest category on the Saffir--Simpson hurricane wind scale.

Governor Roger Mercado of Southern Leyte, a province in Eastern Visayas near the storm's path, said Friday morning that fallen trees had made impassable all roads. "We don't know the extent of the damage," Mercado said. "We are trying to estimate this. We are prepared, but this is really a wallop."

Sea travel has also been suspended in many areas and more than 3,000 travelers were stranded in ports.

The typhoon has been predicted to move away from the Philippines later today or early Saturday and head into the South China Sea in the direction of Vietnam.

Meteorologists predict that Haiyan will maintain super typhoon intensity throughout its passage over the Philippines.

Haiyan was so large in diameter that, at one point, its clouds were affecting two-thirds of the country, which stretches more than 1,150 miles.

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