View of Haiyan early Friday morning local time just before landfall (Thursday evening EST) (Dan Lindsey at CIRA/RAMMB at Colorado State via Brian McNoldy)

Super typhoon Haiyan, among the strongest storms to form on Earth in modern times, is exiting the Philippines. Reports of damage and fatalities are streaming in, but it is too soon to assess the full scope of the storm’s toll on life and property.

View of Haiyan and night lights over Asia Thursday morning EST (13:00 UTC) or Thursday night local time (EUMETSAT via Flickr )

Over the last three days, satellite imagery has provided astonishing views of the storm’s structure. Many meteorologists, myself included, have remarked that they’ve never seen a storm with such an impressive presentation. From its unmistakably clear eye (episodically blurred by small swirls or mesovortices spinning inside it), the towering thunderstorms surrounding it, and its impeccable symmetry – it is a textbook, “perfect” tropical cyclone.

Even after crossing the Philippines and weakening due to land interaction, the storm is the equivalent of a very strong category 4 hurricane (maximum sustained winds down to 155 mph from 195 mph). The series of images below show the storm from its current state back to its appearance from Wednesday, when it first achieved category 5 status.

(Beneath that, are a few animations of the storm and a Katrina comparison as well)

Infrared satellite view of Haiyan at 9:30 p.m. local time Friday (8:30 a.m. EST from @dost_pagasa on Twitter)

Haiyan overtakes Philippines Friday morning local time (around 9 p.m. EST Thursday) (NOAA)

Visible satellite view of Super Typhoon Haiyan making landfall in the Philippines early Friday morning local time.

Water vapor view of Haiyan Thursday (12:30 p.m. EST) or early Friday morning local time (NOAA)

Satellite view of typhoon Haiyan at 8:45 a.m. EST Thursday (Thursay night local time) (Colorado State)

View of Haiyan’s eye Thursday afternoon local time (05:25 UTC on November 7 or just after midnight Thursday EST) (NOAA)

View of Haiyan Thursday morning local time as sun was rising (NOAA)

Super typhoon Haiyan at 17:30 UTC or 12:30 p.m. EST Wednesday, early Thursday morning local time (NOAA)


(Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS)

Animation of Super typhoon Haiyan through 15 UTC Friday (NOAA)

See the CIMSS satellite blog for some additional, mind-blowing animations of the storm.

Katrina comparsion

Comparison of super typhoon Haiyan and hurricane Katrina at peak intensity (Weather Decision Technologies using NOAA imagery)

What Haiyan would look like off the East Coast

Haiyan projected along East Coast (Rick Kohrs, Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin)

Interactive tracking map (click on layers for different information overlays)

Related: Extreme Weather of 2013 in Photos