Super Typhoon Hits Philippines

235 mph winds recorded

Super Typhoon Haiyan

Super Typhoon Haiyan over Panay in the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013.     Photo: NASA/Wikimedia

The typhoon currently devastating the central Philippines is perhaps the strongest storm ever.

Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall early Friday morning and continues to move into four other Philippine islands across the archipelago. With sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts as strong as 235 mph, Haiyan easily meets the threshold for a Category 5 hurricane, the highest category on the scale.

“The intensification of Super Typhoon Haiyan is being fueled by ‘ideal’ environmental conditions—namely low wind shear and warm ocean temperatures,” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association reports.

It will take further analysis after the storm passes to establish whether it was a record, but the storm is already stronger than Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy when they made landfall in the United States. Hurricane Katrina's top wind speed was 120 mph, it was only Category 1 when it made landfall in Louisiana, and Sandy, a mere post-tropical cyclone, topped-out at 80 mph when it landed in New Jersery.

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