TOPSHOTSA resident (R) walks past high waves pounding the sea wall amidst strong winds as Typhoon Haiyan hit the city of Legaspi, Albay province, south of Manila on November 8, 2013. AFP PHOTO/CHARISM SAYATCharism SAYAT/AFP/Getty Images

Super typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, has departed the Philippines and is headed for Vietnam.

Some news reports have suggested a disaster may have been avoided even as the violent storm raked the central region with winds estimated at 195 mph at landfall and a major storm surge perhaps exceeding 15 feet. However, it will likely take a few days before the storm’s full toll on life and property is known. Some of the hardest hit regions are without power and communications.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters, at Weather Underground, cautions:

Haiyan’s winds, rains, and storm surge have caused widespread devastation throughout the Central Philippines, though we do not yet have reports from the worst-hit portions of the disaster zone, including the south shore of Samar Island.

Meteorological observations of the storm’s winds and rain are spotty, but AccuWeather filed this report:

Friday morning, local time, an observation site in Guiuan, Philippines, measured the sustained winds at 96 mph, before the site was disabled. South of landfall point, Surigao City recorded over 10 inches of rainfall, much of which fell in under 12 hours.

Roxas City had sustained winds over 70 mph for several hours as Haiyan passed south of city Friday afternoon, local time.

Link: Super typhoon Haiyan: One of world’s most powerful storms in history from space

Here are some images and videos I’ve compiled from social media feeds, which can give only a partial sense of the impacts there:




As it is currently the middle of the night in the Philippines, few images have emerged in recent hours.

If the death toll is held down, it will have resulted primarily from these two factors:

1) Preparations and evacuations: The government of the Philippines staged a major readiness effort leading up to the storm. Prior to the storm, 700,000 people evacuated their homes, the New York Times reports.
2) The storm’s fast forward speed. It crossed the Philippines moving at 25 mph. This reduced rainfall totals, and likely flash flooding and landslides, which in numerous past typhoons have been the leading cause of death in the Philippines.

Haiyan remains a dangerous typoon and is likely to have significant impacts when it strikes Vietnam on Sunday. Maximum sustained winds are forecast to be near 100 mph although the major threat is expected to be flooding following heavy rains from several prior tropical storms.

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

Related: Extreme Weather of 2013 in Photos