Powerful Yolanda hits Eastern Visayas
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MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) has hit Eastern Samar early Friday, November 8, and is now lashing the Visayas, Bicol, and northeastern Mindanao.
As of 4 am Yolanda was located 62 kilometers southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, with maximum sustained winds of 235 km/h near the center and gusts of up to 275 km/h.
The typhoon hit Guiuan at around 4:40 am, state weather bureau PAGASA said, and is currently lashing a wide swath of Philippine territory, from northeastern Mindanao up to southern Luzon.
The typhoon then crossed the Leyte Gulf, and made its second landfall in the vicinity of Dulag and Tolosa towns in Leyte, just south of Tacloban City, at around 7 am.
Around 5 million people live in the mostly impoverished areas along the path of Yolanda, which meteorologists here and abroad have identified as the strongest tropical cyclone to ever form on Earth this year.
An estimated 54 million residents will be affected in the 40 provinces and regions, including the Philippine capital of Metro Manila, that will be within Yolanda’s reach.
Thousands of residents in the region spent the night in evacuation centers, as they brace for the worst part of the typhoon.
In Tacloban City large trees swayed and roofs were blown away.
After hitting the said municipality, Yolanda, moving west northwest at a speed of 39 km/h, is expected to slice through Biliran, the northern tip of Cebu, then onwards to Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Romblon, Semirara Island, the southern part of Mindoro Island, and then onward to Busuanga. It is then expected to exit land early Saturday morning, November 9.
By Saturday morning it will be located 240 km northwest of Coron, Palawan, and will be out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility by the afternoon (720 km northwest of Coron).
The typhoon has become a bit smaller, with its diameter now at 400 km according to the bureau, but is still carrying heavy to intense rainfall (10.0-30.0 mm/h).
Storm warning signal number 4 is currently in effect over these areas:
- Northern Samar
- Eastern Samar
- Southern Leyte
- Northern Cebu
- Cebu City
- Bantayan and Camotes Island
- Northern Negros Occidental
- Dinagat Province
- Masbate including Ticao Island
- Southern Sorsogon
Signal number 3 is in effect over these areas:
- Rest of Negros Occidental
- Negros Oriental
- Rest of Cebu
- Surigao del Norte
- Rest of Sorsogon
- Burias Island
- Occidental Mindoro
- Oriental Mindoro
- Calamian Islands
Signal number 2 has been raised over these areas:
- Surigao del Sur
- Agusan del Norte
- Camarines Sur
- Southern Quezon
- Metro Manila
- Lubang Islands
- Northern Palawan
- Puerto Princesa
Areas under signal number 1, meanwhile, are the following
- Misamis Oriental
- Agusan del Sur
- Camarines Norte
- Rest of Quezon including Polilio Island
"Residents in low lying and mountainous areas under signal #4, #3 and #2 are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides," the bureau said in its 5 am bulletin.
"Likewise, those living in coastal areas under the aforementioned signal #4, #3 and #2 are alerted against storm surges which may reach up to 7-meter wave height," it added.
The bureau will release its next bulletin at 11 am.
More than 125,000 people in the most vulnerable areas had been moved to evacuation centers before Haiyan hit, according to the civil defense office, and millions of others braced for the typhoon in their homes.
Authorities said schools in the storm's path were closed, ferry services suspended and fishermen ordered to secure their vessels.
In the capital of Manila, which was not directly in the typhoon's path but still expected to feel some of its impact, many schools were also closed.
Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and other carriers announced the suspension of hundreds of flights, mostly domestic but also some international.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
It is now being compared to 1979's Super Typhoon Tip, the most powerful tropical cyclone ever recorded, according to meteorologist David Michael Padua in his update posted on Weather Philippines (www.weather.com.ph), a local meteorological site.
Yolanda had maximum sustained winds on Friday morning of 315 km/h, and gusts of 379 km/h, according to the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.
The Philippine state weather service, which typically gives lower wind readings, said the maximum gusts on Friday morning were 275 km/h.
But even that reading would still make Yolanda the world's strongest typhoon this year, according to Padua. – Rappler.com