What was Super Typhoon Yolanda Really Like?

20131119-215906.jpgDuring the past few days, I’ve been bombarded by a lot of questions about Super Typhoon Yolanda. About the preparations and precautions taken, about the people’s reactions, about how strong Yolanda was, about how come there were so many casualties, about immediate actions after the storm, about the complaints on the aid distribution, and so on and so forth.

There have been a lot of anguish and finger-pointing, as the ongoing relief operations, plus the rest of the activities that go hand-in-hand with it,  were tested to the max by what was  dubbed as the strongest, most powerful of all Super Typhoons to ever hit  land for 2013.

For our American friends who are wondering how strong it was, my colleague, Dan Backus, provided this great comparison. Imagine yourself facing a category F5 tornado, with wind speeds of over 200mph.

20131119-220015.jpgBut then tornadoes usually last 2-5 minutes, usually exhaust themselves after 10-12 miles, and could have a circumference of only about 10 miles. This one – this not-so-lady-like brat named Yolanda – lasted for almost 5 hours, refused to stop her tantrums across the entire width of central Philippines (roughly 450 miles), and had a circumference going as huge as 300 miles! And oh by the way, she had a storm surge to boot. Now, try to imagine the destruction a tornado brings along its path. Multiply that by the time and space difference presented above. That’s how devastating it was!

And for those who – just like me – may not have seen how a storm surge looks like, here’s a video footage as it hit land. It took the water level all of roughly 2 seconds to go from being non-existent to reach the top of the roof of a single-story house! Just like a tsunami. We hope that with this, we can now fully understand the horrific stories of death and destruction, and the stirring stories of heroism and sacrifice during that fateful Friday last November 8.

For more stories on Super-Typhoon Yolanda, pls visit:

(Photos courtesy of sunstar.com.ph, lopezseum.blogspot.com, weather.com, homecreationsblog.wordpress.com, universetoday.com, vintechnology.com, rappler.com, elysplanet.com, mb.com.ph. Video courtesy of ABS-CBN thru YouTube.)


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