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.

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)

Animations

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

Katrina comparsion

What Haiyan would look like off the East Coast

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

Extreme weather

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Residents walk along the coastal village while strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan battered Bayog town in Los Banos, Laguna, south of Manila November 8, 2013. Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon in the world this year and possibly the most powerful ever to hit land battered the central Philippines on Friday, forcing millions of people to flee to safer ground, cutting power lines and blowing apart houses. Haiyan, a category-5 super typhoon, bore down on the northern tip of Cebu Province, a popular tourist destination with the country's second-largest city, after lashing the islands of Leyte and Samar with 275 kph (170 mph) wind gusts and 5-6 meter (15-19 ft) waves. REUTERS/Charlie Saceda (PHILIPPINES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) (STRINGER/PHILIPPINES/REUTERS)

Extreme weather

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Residents walk along the coastal village while strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan battered Bayog town in Los Banos, Laguna, south of Manila November 8, 2013. Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon in the world this year and possibly the most powerful ever to hit land battered the central Philippines on Friday, forcing millions of people to flee to safer ground, cutting power lines and blowing apart houses. Haiyan, a category-5 super typhoon, bore down on the northern tip of Cebu Province, a popular tourist destination with the country's second-largest city, after lashing the islands of Leyte and Samar with 275 kph (170 mph) wind gusts and 5-6 meter (15-19 ft) waves. REUTERS/Charlie Saceda (PHILIPPINES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) (STRINGER/PHILIPPINES/REUTERS)