Remembering Typhoon Haiyan

It’s been now 7 years since Typhoon Haiyan made a catastrophic landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar in the Philippines. The typhoon had a maximum wind speed of 195mph and a minimum pressure of 895 millibars when it made landfall. It was regarded as the strongest landfall in terms of 1-minute sustained winds; this was later broken by Typhoon Goni of this year in terms of minimum pressure.

The storm was like any storm when it formed, organizing while moving west. Haiyan then went into a rapid intensification phase, and later went into a eyewall replacement cycle. This cycle was soon completed, and we witnessed this typhoon’s menacing look, with a large eye and size, approaching the Philippines. Haiyan then made landfall on the Philippines, at 20:40 UTC, November 7 (04:40 am, November 8 local time).

The typhoon then later left the country, heading to Vietnam, and dissipated. But, it left devastating damages on its wake. Damages on the Philippines alone reached 95.5 billion PHP (2.2 billion USD), with 6,300 dead, 28,688 injured and 1,062 missing. Houses in pieces, trees devastated, and many more were revealed by the Philippine government when they visited where Haiyan made landfall in the country.

The name Haiyan was retired and replaced by Bailu, and was first used in 2019; the name Yolanda was also retired and replaced by Yasmin, which was never used in the 2017 season. Retired or not, the storm left a scar on the Philippine people. Fast forward 7 years later, in 2020, when Typhoon Goni came and also made a catastrophic landfall on Catanduanes, also in the Philippines, with winds of 195mph and a pressure of 884 millibars, eclipsing Haiyan’s record in terms of minimum pressure.

People quickly compared this to Haiyan. Signal #5, which is the highest Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal in the Philippines, was raised before Goni made landfall on Catanduanes. After Goni left the Philippines, the Philippine government quickly inspected the island, which, apparently, got 90% of its infrastructure damaged. Officials are continuing to estimate the damages Goni brought.

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