Massive Superstorm Crushes the Philippines, Leaving Many Fearing the Worst

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 8 2013 9:26 AM

Massive Superstorm Crushes the Philippines, but Death Toll Unclear

In this handout from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Super Typhoon Haiyan moves towards the Philippines November 7, 2013 in the Pacific Ocean

Photo by NOAA via Getty Images

Typhoon Haiyan, feared to be one of the most powerful storms, if not the most powerful, ever to make landfall, battered the Philippines with rains and wind gusts topping 200 miles per hour today. The worst of the superstorm appeared to have passed over the island nation as of late Friday local time, but it will likely be some time—maybe even days—before anyone has a full grasp of just how much damage the typhoon, known locally as Yolanda, has done. Here's the latest update on the storm, via the BBC:

[The storm] lashed central islands including Leyte and Samar, and the northern tip of Cebu—including Cebu city, the country's second largest with a population of 2.5 million. Two people were electrocuted in storm-related incidents and another was killed after being struck by lightning, according to officials. Seven others were reported injured.
Reports say power and communications have been almost completely lost in Samar, Leyte and Bohol. ... Waves as high as 15m (45ft) could be seen around the coast, and there was 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places.

Authorities warned that more than 12 million people were at risk from the storm. The good news is that Haiyan, which is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, did not directly hit Manila, the nation's capitol, and that advanced forecasts gave authorities time to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people from the storm's path. The bad is that the superstorm's path took it across areas that still haven't recovered from last month's deadly 7.3-magnitude earthquake that left more than 200 people dead and 350,000 people displaced.

So, for now, we'll have to nervously wait and see just how much death and damage Yolanda brought with her. Meteorologists have warned that the storm could be as devastating as last year's Typhoon Bopha, which killed at least 1,000 people in the southern Philippines.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

Even by Russian Standards, Moscow’s  Anti-War March Was Surprisingly Grim

I Wrote a Novel Envisioning a Nigerian Space Program. Then I Learned Nigeria Actually Has One.

Photos of the Crowds That Took Over NYC for the People’s Climate March

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

Trending News Channel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 11:13 AM Your Own Personal Rand Paul How the libertarian hero makes his foreign policy contradictions disappear.
Sept. 22 2014 12:07 PM Divestment Isn’t the Answer To destroy demand for fossil fuels, universities can do a lot better than just selling some stocks.
Dear Prudence
Sept. 22 2014 12:00 PM Dear Prudence Live Chat For September 22, 2014.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 11:32 AM South Park Takes on Washington’s NFL Team and Its Terrible Name
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 11:23 AM Robot Plants Are the Latest in a Long Line of Robot Thingies
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 11:23 AM Two Impacts, One Landslide… on Mercury
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.