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Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda Strongest Storm on Earth?

By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
11/08/2013, 8:49:31 AM

UPDATE 11 AM 11/7/2013: Typhoon Haiyan "blew up" Social Media worldwide in the last day. There have been nearly 100,000 tweets from Twitter containing the word "Typhoon" in the last 12 hours, coming in at a maximum rate of 321 per minute, according to data (click to enlarge image below for details).


We may not know the full extent of damage from this storm until the weekend, but the damage shown in this photo looks like tornado damage, and it's no wonder if the winds were 235 mph, that's F4 tornado strength.

The CIMSS Blog has put up an excellent collection of satellite images, though this one is probably the best:

UPDATE 5 PM 11/7/2013: The storm has made landfall, and the weather stations in the region have stopped transmitting (after one showed a 97-mph wind gust). Here's a radar shot (loops):


BREAKING NEWS 2 PM 11/7/2013: The JTWC has now declared that Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) has sustained winds of 170 knots (195 mph) with gusts to 205 knots (235 mph). The satellite images are just incredible:


A satellite researcher I was speaking with says the Dvorak rating of the storm has reached 8.0, the maximum intensity, and this is the highest wind speed ever assigned based on that satellite estimate:

So is this the strongest storm ever recorded on Earth? The answer, as it always is in meteorology is: It depends. A couple of storms in history were measured (not estimated) with higher winds, as high as 180 knots, but storms before 1970 were later disqualified from the rankings. I think it's safe to say that no storm in recorded history has made landfall at this pressure reading. However... these sat wind estimates are below 253 mph, the new wind record set by Typhoon Olivia in 1996, that was confirmed three years ago. Amazingly, that was instrument measured, and it remains to be seen what instruments have measured with Haiyan.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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