Super typhoon Yolanda is the strongest storm this year, worse than Odette

Filipinos in Visayas are strongly urged to prepare for the Friday morning landfall of super typhoon Yolanda, which is shaping up to be the strongest typhoon of 2013.

Yolanda's 215 kph near-center winds make it already as strong as the current record holder, Typhoon Odette (Usagi), which hit Batanes in September this year. But with Yolanda still over 600 km away from land, it can be expected to gain strength before making landfall in Eastern Visayas.

Typhoon Odette battered Batanes in September this year, with

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad saying that the province had not seen such a powerful typhoon in over two decades. The storm

toppled communication and power lines, uprooted trees, and caused landslides and flooding.
Bracing for a bigger storm

“Yung temperatura, yung oceanic condition, and atmospheric condition, favorable para lalo pang lumakas yung bagyo before hitting yung eastern Visayas,” said GMA's resident meteorologist Nathaniel “Mang Tani” Cruz in an interview with GMA News Online.

It is also more likely that Yolanda would bring more destruction as it is passes through the Visayas region.

“Si Odette kasi dumaan sa extreme northern Luzon kung saan their way of life includes yung pagdaan ng bagyo, unlike itong Visayas,” Cruz said.

“The mere fact that it's highly populated, na maraming tao, hindi mo siya kailangang maging kasing-lakas ni Odette para maging isang destructive tropical storm.”

Visayans have repeatedly been warned to prepare for the coming of Typhoon Yolanda.
Nothing can stop it

“We can't stop Yolanda from destroying everything along its path. Pero ang isang pinakamahalaga diyan ay yung protecting the lives of the members of the community. Kahit na maraming masira, as long as mabawasan yung maaaksidenteng tao, that's the best thing na dapat ingatan,” Cruz said.

Typhoon Yolanda is expected to make landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar at around 9:00-10:00 AM Friday, according to PAGASA's 11:00 AM bulletin.

PAGASA issued typhoon Signal Number 3 in Eastern Samar, Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Siargao Island, and Dinagat Province in a bulletin they released at 11:00 AM, Thursday.

Signal Number 2 was issued in Sorsogon, Masbate (including Ticao Island), Northern Samar, Biliran Province, Bantayan and Camotes Islands, Northern Cebu (including Cebu City), Bohol, Surigao Del Norte, Camiguin, Surigao Del Sur, and Agusan Del Norte.

Citizens are advised to watch for possible storm surges in the coastal areas of the regions where Signal number 2 and 3 were issued.

Storm signals raised

Signal Number 1 was issued in Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Mindoro Provinces, Burias Island, Romblon, Marinduque, Calamian of Islands, Southern Quezon, Aklan, Capiz, Ilo-ilo, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Netros Oriental, the rest of Cebu, Siquijor, Misamis Oriental, and Agusan Del Sur.

Expect heavy rain coupled with intermitent winds that might bring floods and landslides.

Typhoon Yolanda entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) midnight. As of 10:00 AM, Thursday, Yolanda was seen 738 kilometers southeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

It maintained its intensity at the speed of 215 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 250 kph as it moves west northwest at 30 kph.

Yolanda is expected to leave PAR on Sunday, the track of Weather Central showed.
Far-reaching effects

Yolanda is expected to bring overcast skies in the Visayas region, the northern section of Mindanao, and eastern section of the Bohol Region, Thursday, even before it makes landfall.

This is because the diameter of Typhoon Yolanda stretches up to 600 kilometers, according to PAGASA.

Moderate to heavy rain is expected in a large part of Visayas and in the CARAGA Region in Mindanao, Thursday, Weather Central's forecast accumulated rain map showed.

Moderate rains are expected in Luzon, especially in the Bicol Region.

Light rains brought by Amihan is expected in northern Luzon. A gale warning was issued in the northern and eastern seaboards of northern Luzon, and the eastern seaboard of central Luzon. Waves in these areas are expected to reach up to 4.5 meters high.

Fishermen using small seacraft are advised to avoid setting sail in the mentioned areas. — Kim Luces/TJD, GMA News