- (Photo: NOAA)
Super typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm to make land fall ever recorded, has claimed the lives of at least three people in the Philippines and is continuing to leave a path of destruction in its wake.
Two people died after being electrocuted, while one person was hit by lightning, said Major Rey Balido, a spokesman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Seven people were injured and one is missing, according to the nation's military, with the death toll expected to rise.
Haiyan "is the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall," Jeff Masters, founder of Weather Underground, told Bloomberg News.
Pilipino president Benigno Aquino has ordered all government agencies to conduct search-and-rescue operations.
"In terms of power, this is really strong," Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo said on DZMM radio, referring to the ferocity of Haiyan's winds.
Recorded wind averages from the Philippine weather bureau and the Joint Typhoon Weather Center stated the storm had sustained winds of 195 miles per hour at landfall.
While the winds totals recorded breaking heavy rains falling over an already saturated landmass could lead to significant damage caused by mudslides.
"Rain totals along the path of Haiyan could top 200 mm (8 inches)," according to reports from AccuWeather. "Mudslides are a serious concern in the higher terrain, where localized totals of 250 to 300 mm (10 to 12 inches) are not out of the question."
Residents in the central region of the country are not the only ones in danger. The storm is also producing a tremendous storm surge with reports of waves 50 feet high just north of the eye, along the eastern coast of southern Luzon and Samar islands.
Once an official record is determined it is possible that Haiyan will surpass typhoon Bopha, whose peak winds reached 175 mph and led to hundreds of deaths in December 2012.
"[The] system has developed to almost max intensity for a cyclone," read a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency bulletin.