Super Typhoon Haiyan, '…as intense as a tropical cyclone can get. '


Prepare yourselves for the second coming of Katrina, because you can bet that this storm will be hyped as an indicator of “global warming”.

As of this writing, the storm is in the process of making landfall in the Philippines and it is moving west at 20-25 knots and estimated winds of 170 knots (195mph).

Hurricane expert Dr. Ryan Maue has been monitoring the Super Typhoon for the past several days and remarked about the historic nature of Haiyan.  In this upper echelon of cyclone intensity, it is difficult to assign rankings or compare Typhoons due to inhomogeneous observing networks and tools.  But it’s fair to say that Super Typhoon Haiyan is as intense as a tropical cyclone can get

Presented at AMS Tropical in 2004, Hoarau et al. asked if there were any Typhoons stronger than Tip (1979).  Two likely candidates emerged including Super Typhoon Angela from 1995 which has been compared with today’s storm.  Satellite estimates through Dvorak technique yielded an intensity of 90 m/s or 175 knots which is greater than Tip’s maximum of 165 knots.  A quick comparison between Angela and Haiyan at maximum intensity suggests the latter is actually stronger.  Dvorak estimates are at the top of the scale — T = 8.0 and even touched 8.1, which according to this chart, means 170-knot maximum 1-minute sustained winds.  That is Category 5 with three pluses.

Dvorak BD imagery comparing Super Typhoon Angela (left) 1995 at 175-knots maximum estimated intensity vs. Super Typhoon Haiyan at 170-knots.

The actual best-tracks have Tip at 165-knots and there are many others that exceeded 155-knots.  Here’s a handy list of advisories that met or exceeded 155 since 1950.  The JTWC best tracks are increasingly uncertain prior to the satellite era (1979) but there is some confidence primarily due to routine aircraft recon from 1944-1987 in the Western Pacific.  Aside from field studies (e.g. TPARC) run by NASA in coordination with neighboring nations, routine hurricane hunting does not occur outside of the Western Hemisphere.

Global landfalls were discussed in a recent J. Climate paper by Weinkle, Maue and Pielke Jr. Weinkle_2012.04

Above: as morning breaks in the Philippines, one of the first two visible satellite images


Above: animation from showing the last 12 hours of motion as of 1PM PST 11/7/13. – may take up to a minute to load and animate, depending on your connection speed.

With winds like that, expect to see complete devastation as it makes landfall. That of course will be hyped into an AGW caused storm, just like Katrina. Al Gore and Bill McKibben are already testing lies language on Twitter. Bear in mind that we have a very short historical record of Typhoon strength, and any claims that this is the strongest storm ever need to be qualified with that fact. Nobody has any credible record of typhoon strength back more than a few decades.

I’ll add updates and additional content to this article today – Anthony


UPDATE1:  NOAA image as Haiyan prepares to make landfall:


UPDATE2: Haiyan is expected to make it all the way to China. Maue on Twitter:

12z ECMWF model shows #Haiyan maintaining deep central pressure of 947 mb as it moves quickly west thru S. China Sea


UPDATE3: Radar image from Cebu City shows the eye of Haiyan approaching, click image for animation:


UPDATE4: Dr. Heidi Cullen of Climate Central wins the “First Haiyan BS award” with this missive.

As Bob Tisdale observes, there’s nothing to support this along the track of Haiyan:

Lots of the typical BS accumulating already about Typhoon Haiyan.  Let’s push some of it aside and present the sea surface temperature anomalies for the early portion of Haiyan’s storm track.

There was nothing unusually warm about the sea surface temperature anomalies for the early portion of Typhoon Haiyan’s storm track last week, the week of Wednesday October 30, 2013.  We’ll have to wait for Monday to see what the values were for this week.

Early Typhoon Haiyan SSTa Weekly

UPDATE5:  Jeff Masters, makes this claim:

Super Typhoon Haiyan has made landfall. According to PAGASA, Haiyan came ashore at 4 am local time (20 UTC) November 7, 2013 near Guiuan, on the Philippine island of Samar. At the time, Guiuan reported sustained 10-minute average winds of 96 mph, with a pressure of 977 mb. Contact has since been lost with the city. Two hours before landfall, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center assessed Haiyan’s sustained winds at 195 mph, gusting to 235 mph, making it the 4th strongest tropical cyclone in world history. Satellite loops show that Haiyan weakened only slightly, if at all, in the two hours after JTWC’s advisory, so the super typhoon likely made landfall with winds near 195 mph. This makes Haiyan the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in world history. The previous record was held by the Atlantic’s Hurricane Camille of 1969, which made landfall in Mississippi with 190 mph winds.

Sorry, no. Super Typhoon Ida in 1958 is said to have central pressure of 877mb and 200 mph 1 minute sustained winds:

C. L. Jordan (September 1959). “A Reported Sea Level Pressure of 877 MB.” (PDF). Monthly Weather Review. Retrieved 2011-11-23.

FOOTNOTE: A milestone – this is story is number 10,000 of published posts on WUWT.


newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Was just going to pop something in Tips ‘n Notes about this doozie. Fortunately for much of the Philippines, the strong winds don’t extend anywhere near as far out as Katrina’s did. for instance, Manila won’t see anything other than heavy rain (but boy, it looks like heavy rain) as 50=knot winds are only stretching out about 70 miles to the north from the centre.
However, those directly in its path need to be getting the heck out of Dodge. 200 mph AVERAGE wind speeds don’t bear thinking about. There won’t be much to return to…


“Nobody has any credible record of typhoon strength back more than a few decades.”
Wise words to keep in mind when weathering the upcoming hysteria.

Bob Ramar

I think that praying for these people in the Phillipines would be a very good idea right now.

Old England

Typhoons of this strength are unprecedented before tens of thousands of wind turbines were been erected – ergo they must be related to and with 95% certainty caused by the number of wind turbines – or have I misunderstood how the reasoning behind most of warmist ‘climate science’ works ?


Was not Tip around 1,300 miles in diameter or so with tropical storm force winds?
I don’t see that with Haiyan……..

Dr. Omni

It will not be the second coming of Katrina because it will be in Manilla, and not in some famous city in the US or Europe. Katrina was “the perfect storm” because it destroyed an iconic city (New Orleans), and thus it was ideal for filling up the disaster movie narrative pushed by AGW alarmists. After all, we don’t see disaster movies set in relatively obscure places like Lagos or Kabul, we see them destroying places that audiences all over the world will recognize, like New York and Paris…

M Courtney

Bob Ramar: Praying is the correct immediate response to this.
Secondly, check what we can give to the charities when the appeal comes out. The Philippine folk can’t take a direct hit from this if it stays so strong. We shouldn’t expect them to.
But thirdly let’s hope we can study this and see how the world actually does work. This has happened before and will happen again.

Neil Jordan

The storm is likely not “unprecedented”. See the literature and Internet for Typhoon “Cobra” of December, 1944. For example,


Bob Ramar says:
November 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm
I think that praying for these people in the Phillipines would be a very good idea right now.
You got it Bob.
Folks, people will be suffering, if not dying, in the areas impacted. AGW is a joke, but not everyone understands as we do. So we should restrict our sarcasm in respect for those in danger.

Fascinating to watch from a weather perspective but the highly populated Philippines can only pray they make it through the next few hours (coast experiencing 15m high waves). What lies beyond that will be just as bad and compounded by earlier storms this year. Disease will be rife, hampering any attempt to return to something ‘normal’.
Sadly already the glee of the ambulance chasing alarmists is palpable on twitter, as this is the event they have prayed for. Vultures circle corpses, I’ll just add my prayers to the many others here.
Nature sure has a way of making us feel small and powerless.

Andy Wilkins

It’ll be horrific for anyone in the direct path, and what annoys me most is that people such as the odious Joe Romm will use these peoples’ suffering to advance his warmist agenda.

Leonard Lane

Bob Ramar says:
November 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm
I think that praying for these people in the Phillipines would be a very good idea right now.
Yes indeed!
Have prayed and will continue to do so. Thank you for your comment.


If this is a sure sign of global warming (standstill) then the quietest tornado year on the record In the US is a sure sign of global cooling (standstill). We can all pick cherries. In earlier news from a nearby area I see increased frequency. It’s worse than I thought!

Abstract – 2004
Kam-biu Liu et. al.
A 1,000-Year History of Typhoon Landfalls in Guangdong, Southern China, Reconstructed from Chinese Historical Documentary Records
…….Remarkably, the two periods of most frequent typhoon strikes in Guangdong (AD 1660–1680, 1850–1880) coincide with two of the coldest and driest periods in northern and central China during the Little Ice Age…..

Willis Eschenbach

Bob Ramar says:
November 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I think that praying for these people in the Phillipines would be a very good idea right now.

In addition to prayer I’d add preparation.
Having lived through a cyclone, I’ve always found preparation to be more efficacious than prayer. In addition, preparation seems to serve both functions, under the old idea that “God helps those that help themselves” …

I know people in the Philippines – this storm is a great concern to me. Yet just watch the alarmists rejoice at this. They will be thrilled and jumping for joy.


It’s mostly just Coriolis force, isn’t it, the hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, and for that matter much of the air-mass driven winds. The equatorial air masses have greater lateral speed than the temperate ones, and when air masses drift north or south, they get a vector torque from their inertia — boom, circular motion is the end result. It doesn’t matter what the air is made of, only its viscosity matters. This is just engineering — way outside of climateers’ competence, of course.


Here is another sign of global warming – surface wind speeds slow down – blamed on afforestation or something.

Nature News – 17 October 2010
Increasing amounts of vegetation could be causing up to 60% of a slowing in wind speed across the Northern Hemisphere, according to researchers analysing three decades of wind-speed data in Nature Geoscience1 today………
Another factor that has been suggested is thriving vegetation. More abundant and taller plants increase the ‘surface roughness’ of the ground, absorbing some of the wind’s energy and slowing it down…….
Vegetation changes did not wholly explain wind-speed changes seen in eastern Europe and China. In central Asia the height of vegetation would have to have tripled to account for the stilling…..

Is this bad news? Is there anything co2 can’t do???

lurker, passing through laughing

There are credible reports that hurricane Camille had winds in the ~200 mph range as it hit the Mississippi gulf coast.


Neil Jordan says:
November 7, 2013 at 2:02 pm
Halsey steamed into two typhoons, yet still made four stars, so that the Navy could have as many flag officers of that rank as the Army. He should have listened to this guy:
And IPeCaC should have, too, when he said near the end of his life:
“You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.”

Steve Keohane

Congratulations to WUWT on its 10,000th post!

Just posted the sea surface temperature anomalies for the early portion of Haiyan’s storm track. As one would expect (being ENSO neutral) there was nothing unusual last week. We’ll have to wait for Monday for the values for this week.


Along with its intensity, Haiyan is also very extreme in the latitude of its track. Eight degrees is about as close as typhoons, which rely upon Coriolis effects, ever get to the equator.


‘Prepare yourselves for the second coming of Katrina, because you can bet that this storm will be hyped as an indicator of “global warming”.’
Its already happening, the ‘weather is not climate’ line as long been abandon by the alarmist , who now jump on ‘anything ‘ as proof of AGW .
Hardly the sign of a ‘strong ‘ argument you have to say .


Cyclone Cobra, 1944, was about 4-6 years after some warming
over the 1930s. Perhaps it was a hiatus as now or perhaps the
cooling up to 1974 had already started. Conditions then and now
may be similar …
I’ve often thought more severe weather hits during cooling times
as storms feed on the latent heat they can extract from the water
vapour. The warmer the surface, the more water vapour in the air
and the cooler the upper air, the steeper the temperature gradient
and hence the more latent heat which can be extracted, driving a
bigger, stronger storm. Or am I somewhere way out of the ball park?
There was a huge North Sea storm documented in the early 1300s(1)
when the MWP had turned to cooling at the start of the Wolff Minimum
and little Ice Age. Is this the start for the Eddy Minimum?
(1) HAGAN, Brian: “The Little Ice Age”


Was your cyclone experience on land or at sea? In ’68 I rode through the eye of Super Typhoon Elaine off the Philippines in a Heavy Cruiser (17k tons) and we came out with the bow pointed 7 degrees off from the rest of the ship. Exciting/terrifying – pick one.


It looks as though the eye will pass between Mindanao and Luzon, the two islands that hold the bulk of the Philippine population. Since there is a mix of small islands and water between these two large islands, it may not end up being the catastrophe that the global warming alarmists are looking (hoping) for. Move along, move along.

Karl W. Braun

Filipinos are no strangers to calamities. The storm track closely follows the area where a devastating earthquake recently occurred. Your prayers are indeed highly appreciated.

Gunga Din

Will Al Gore call this the first category 6 or will he go for a category 7?
(Please don’t take this as a lack of empathy for those in the path of a naturally occurring storm. The comment is aimed at the CAGW PR hype.)


isn’t this storm stronger…because the eye has spun down and gotten tighter/smaller??
…dunno, asking?

Lauren R.

I’m glad to see so many here concerned for the safety of Filipinos. Poverty is widespread and many people along the coasts live in tin shacks. A lot of people will die if emergency warnings and evacuations aren’t in place and being heeded. Even in the U.S. this would be a deadly storm; in the Philippines it will be a hundred times worse. There are many things we can do to help poor people prepare for these kinds of storms and clean up afterward. Tilting at the windmills of AGW and carbon dioxide emissions isn’t one of them. In fact it diverts resources away from productive solutions to real problems as Bjorn Lomborg points out.


Meanwhile the total number of intense storms (4&5) has been declining globally since 1987.
The numbers for any Typhoon before then in the WPAC cannot be compared to modern numbers since they stopped aircraft reconnaissance, and we no longer have that important constraint on the intensity estimates there. I doubt Haiyan is really more intense than Tip but even if it is a record is *not* the same thing as a trend.


An unusually active typhoon season?
While the Atlantic had a very quiet tropical season, the western Pacific has been on the active side. This year, 30 named storms have formed and 5 super typhoons, which is slightly above average, but nothing out of the ordinary. On average, the western Pacific gets 27 named storms.
The most active season in terms of number of named storms in the western Pacific was 1964 (39 storms), but the largest number of super typhoons was in 1965 (there were 11).
The season was quiet (like in the eastern Pacific and Atlantic) until about mid-September, and hasn’t taken a breather since then. On average, approximately 30 percent of all tropical cyclones in the western Pacific occur between mid-September and mid-November, but this year, about 45 percent of the season’s tropical cyclones occurred in that two-month window (since the season is still ongoing, that number could fluctuate a bit). So, it’s not that the season is unusually active, but it is getting active later than normal.

Below is NOAA’s description of one of the hurricanes I experienced in Houston, Texas, September 11, 1961. Carla. This one appears to be even more powerful. We sheltered in place and were just fine, having made adequate preparations for living without running water, and no electricity for about ten days.
Note the statement that the wind equipment blew away in the storm, and a storm surge of 22 feet.
“Carla was an extremely large hurricane with devastating effects from the winds and storm surge for the Middle and Upper Texas coast. Hurricane force gusts were recorded along the Texas coast from Port Mansfield to Galveston. The highest sustained wind speeds reported were 115 mph at Matagorda, 110 mph at Victoria, and 88 mph at Galveston. Extreme peak wind gusts were estimated to be near 170 mph at Port Lavaca as the wind equipment blew away after reading 153 mph. Wind gusts were estimated to be around 150 mph at Victoria, Port Aransas, and Edna. Wind gusts of 80 to 90 mph were reported from Rockport to Corpus Christi.
Carla’s storm surge devastated the Texas coast, rising to 10 feet above normal along a 300 mile swath from Port Aransas to Sabine Pass. The higher tides reached the Upper Texas coast by the 8th as the large hurricane approached with storm surge eventually reaching 10 to 15 feet around Galveston Bay. Tides of 15 to 17 feet above mean sea level inundated Port O’Connor, Indianola, Palacios and Matagorda. The extreme tides inundated downtown Port Lavaca with 2 feet of flood water and displaced fishing boats and tug boats on Highway 35. With the slow movement of Carla, the hurricane pushed a storm surge of 22 feet above mean seal level at the head of Lavaca Bay in Port Lavaca. This is the highest storm surge in Texas hurricane history. Total inundation of the Texas coastline was around 1.7 million acres with the storm surge reaching 10 miles inland in places.”

Jim Clarke

Water temperatures in the tropical basins are warm enough every year to support super cyclones like Haiyan, but such storms rarely occur because the atmospheric conditions have to be perfect. A pocket of dry air or the slightest upper level wind shear usually prevents tropical cyclones from getting anywhere near as strong as Haiyan. Sometimes, however, everything happens just the way it needs to for a super cyclone to evolve.
My heart goes out to the people of the Central Philippines, who are at this very moment, going through one of natures most terrifying creations and are fighting for their lives. The storm will be gone tomorrow, but their ordeal is only just beginning.


Cebu should also get away [i]relatively[/i] unscathed, but the quarter of a million souls of Tacloban are in mortal danger. The city lies in San Pedro Bay and is on the right side, hence windier side, of the eye. Storm surge and wind speeds will be greatest here, with the topography exaggerating the effects.
For those who think they recognise the name, Tacloban was the site of MacArthur’s HQ during the Second World War.


Peak oil and gas has arrived. 🙂

Guardian – 7 November 2013
Abundant fossil fuels leave clean energy out in the cold

When will these people make up their minds?

I now pray for the Filipinos as I once prayed for myself. That was during Typhoon Hope in 1979. I was living in Hong Kong when she hit. The next day it looked like some giant had stalked the New Territories swinging a flail at about 15 feet above the ground, nothing above that height was there.
During the night I cowered in the smallest room in the house (the toilet) with my cats and dogs. I could hear massive thumps against the house and tried to go outside to see if it was a tree or some other debris hitting the house. It wasn’t. It was what the Cantonese call “dai fung” or big winds, referring to the very small but highly destructive high-speed squalls which form within the walls of a typhoon. When I peered outside I thought that I’d been hit in the face by some flying gravel. When I went inside to my refuge and checked I discovered that I had a green leaf embedded edgeways in my face.
A typhoon is terrifying; it is Nature at its most demonic. There is nothing you can do but cower and hope to survive.


“Deep warm water” – the stupid really does burn sometimes.


Wind speeds reported by aircraft and radar tend to overestimate storm intensity.
Hurricanes are defined by sustained surface wind speeds.
Sustained wind speeds at the surface still show Haiya to be a major hurricane that resembles Andrew for size and intensity.
I drove through the storm path of Andrew 6 weeks after landfall. Basically entire towns were scrubbed off the face of the earth.
Everything above the surface was gone, except for some commercial structures, reinforced concrete or metal. Anything wood, houses or trees, was gone. Much debris had been pushed into large piles on the sides of roads. Metal poles survived but not wood. Most metal structures were just skeletons.
Drove by a residential area and all you could see was the concrete curbs and a few metal pipes. A very few people had built heavily reinforced houses, they looked to be still livable, with some roof damage. A few reinforced concrete sturctures looked ok, but with no windows.
The philipines knows how to respond to hurricanes, but the lives of the people who can’t evactuate will be mostly gone.

Bob Weber

I believe that recent solar X-flares are responsible for this particular extreme weather event. Conversely, the ongoing lack of solar activity until recently explains the dearth of tornadoes and hurricanes in North America this season. Does anyone remember that a large X-flare preceded Katrina?
Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction forecasted a month ahead the high solar activity for the end of last month, and he was right, and his resulting weather forecast for the USA was right on the money as well and for the eastern Atlantic storm. EVERYONE should want to know how Corbyn knows ahead of time so far and accurately what the solar activity is going to be and how that relates to Earth weather.
I believe we are on the edge of a transformation in understanding the true source of power in our climate: the electric weather effect – protons en masse from solar emissions and cosmic sources, modulated by lunar motion. Like Piers says: it solar particles and magnetic linkages, not CO2!

Oh no!
My Filipino wife’s mother lives right in the area.
I have been in Tacloban several times since 2003 and yes it is barely above sea level.The town could be wiped out.

Bill Illis

A few days ago, this hurricane was only forecast to be in the Category 3 range. It was clearly heading straight into the Philippines but it has really strengthened. Been watching it at:

Alan Robertson

Karl W. Braun says:
November 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm
Filipinos are no strangers to calamities. The storm track closely follows the area where a devastating earthquake recently occurred. Your prayers are indeed highly appreciated.
The Phillippine Islands are one of those places where man is surrounded by profound beauty, as if in compensation for what the people must endure, both from nature and himself. The ancient rice terraces are as pleasing to the eye as any natural landscape, yet the history of the place is rife with accounts of the worst acts of both man and nature. It’s in places like the Phillippines, where man lives closest to the edge of existence, that the duality of the world is so evident.


Willis Eschenbach says:
November 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm
In addition, preparation seems to serve both functions, under the old idea that “God helps those that help themselves” …
Of the old “mantras”, that is the only one I’ll repeat when asked to.

Nick Kermode

Thanks for covering this. The respect and thoughts commenters have for the impending human cost is nice to see. Kudos to WUWT. I echo those sentiments with a special mention for the people of the tiny island of Malapascua 100 miles ish north of Cebu City. I have been visiting there every year since I started diving and it is just an amazing place with wonderful, friendly locals. Unfortunately it is forecast to be in the direct path of Yolanda and stands little chance. If ever anyone is out Philippine way in the future consider including it in your trip, it’s fantastic! If you are a diver or love the underwater world and have the time here is taste of Malapascua as we filmed it this year and how it will no doubt recover to in the future.
Good Luck Philippines.

Alan Robertson

u.k.(us) says:
November 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm
Willis Eschenbach says:
November 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm
In addition, preparation seems to serve both functions, under the old idea that “God helps those that help themselves” …
Of the old “mantras”, that is the only one I’ll repeat when asked to.
How about:
“It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to paint it.”- Steven Wright, comedian

“Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction forecasted a month ahead the high solar activity for the end of last month, and he was right, and his resulting weather forecast for the USA was right on the money as well and for the eastern Atlantic storm.”
When did you receive the forecast and when was the event? What was the specific forecast and the specific event? Dates and exact wording would be appreciated. There are linkages from solar activity to weather but that doesn’t make weather predictable. There are two many other variables including chaotic effects, so I am skeptical that such forecasts can go beyond general tendencies (e.g. there will be more storms within a general area and period of time)

James at 48

Lots of unknown unknowns about Super Typhoons, and as noted really hard to compare. Dumb ships either avoid them or sink.


I’ve been to Cebu City. A hardier bunch you will not find.


Wow, that storm really did tighten up just prior to landfall. Thoughts and prayers to those folks in its path. I hope they had some time to prepare.
Some of you may have to scroll this loop to the right.