Super Typhoon Haiyan slams Philippines, may be powerful typhoon to ever hit land


It might be nice for Boing Boing to list relevant, reputable charities.


“Contact has since been lost with the city.”

Not a phrase one ever wants to run across in non-fiction.


To be fair, when major storms hit cities, the power almost always goes out. In fact, much of the time it’s preemptively shut off, because they know power lines are going to come down and making sure they aren’t live is a good way to prevent fires and other damage. (Yes, fire during a massive storm sounds odd, but it’s a legitimate concern.)

Consequently, in an age where our primary forms of communication are reliant on an operable power grid, it’s safe to say most cities will lose contact with the outside world during these sorts of storms and stay out of contact for a while in the aftermath.

The only contact one might reasonably expect from Guiuan in such situations is via radio, and that is almost certainly going to be from low-powered devices being run off batteries or small generators. Add in the fact that we’re talking about a very small and very remote island in the Pacific, and it’s not surprising that contact isn’t extant - you’d either have to be nearby to receive the low power radio transmissions, or you’d need the power grid or large generators running in order to operate a larger range radio system that could reach the rest of the world.


One thing I’m curious about is the level of preparedness that was already present in the region this storm struck.

On the one hand, this was undeniably a very powerful storm, but on the other hand, a lot of unnecessary damage can occur when a storm like this strikes a city that hasn’t taken adequate measures to protect itself. Just look at the big mess in New York not-so-long ago.

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For people (like me) who are not really familiar with hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons:

Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon; we just use different names for these storms in different places. In the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, the term “hurricane” is used. The same type of disturbance in the Northwest Pacific is called a “typhoon” and “cyclones” occur in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.


“Super-typhoon” is a term utilized by the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center for typhoons that reach maximum sustained 1-minute surface winds of at least 65 m/s (130 kt, 150 mph). This is the equivalent of a strong Saffir-Simpson category 4 or category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin or a category 5 severe tropical cyclone in the Australian basin.


“Major hurricane” is a term utilized by the National Hurricane Center for hurricanes that reach maximum sustained 1-minute surface winds of at least 50 m/s (96 kt, 111 mph). This is the equivalent of category 3, 4 and 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Links: and

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No doubt network and cable TV weather coverage will pop reference this as “MEGASTORM” - “KILLERSTORM” or “MEGA-EXTREME STORM” - merely calling it a “storm” or a “hurricane” might not suffice and might not help to garner higher ratings.

“SUPER MEGA-EXXTREME KILLER STORM” is what I’d call it to assure decent Neilsen numbers.

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Or as they’d say on The Daily Show, “The Storm of the Century of the Week”


What? No Armageddon? Or do we reserve that hyperbole for American disasters?

We can do that mate - - obvious how they help - provide emergency relief kits in portable crates, kind of International Rescue with boxes

These are the two I contribute to monthly that jump to mind.

Edit: Added this into the topics.


NYC experienced many prior hyperbolic episodes of weathercasters screeching that the sky would be falling and it turned out they were crying wolf. I think that contributed to the nonchalance about another storm.

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Reading through the news reports, they say an average of about 20 typhoons hit the Philippines per year. Obviously, they are nothing like this, but I would say that any country that can withstand 20 typhoons a year probably has a lot of expertise in disaster preparation.

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Well, it isn’t in the US, so you can expect most of their focus to be on breathless counting of casualty numbers combined with stories of inconvenienced tourists and cancelled flights.

None of them will send much more than a token reporter (who will probably report from Manila).

Or a relatively high tolerance for casualties and damage.

“Sharkclone” is the word you are looking for.


CBC News Network had a guy on a really shitty-sounding phone in Manila earlier this morning. In the middle of the interview, it went to a dial tone. Still better than when a news channel will talk to someone on Skype with a webcam on a terrible internet connection.

Or poverty combined with political corruption to prevent infrastructure investment that’s not a (cash pipeline to cronies) or even modern building code enforcement. And that’s just here in the US South. I can’t imagine what it’s like in the Philippines.

I would have thought that an island nation with 20 typhoons a season would have some short wave communication between military and civilian government emergency centers in large cities, but I guess a radio tower isn’t likely to fare well in 245mph winds.

Thank you

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Except the wolves were real, and NYC just was “lucky” enough to not get attacked for an absurdly long period of time.Historically, plenty of big storms trashed the place, with major devastation as recently as the 1950s. The problem is that people forget unpleasant truths far too quickly.

To claim “weathercasters” cried wolf is absurd. Modern meteorology may not be right every time, but if they warn about potential disasters they aren’t blowing smoke. New York was not prepared. They conveniently forgot or ignored their past brushes with dangerous storms, and then when the few people keeping vigil over the threat said “One of these days a major storm is going to hit you, and you’re not going to be prepared for it!” they took no heed. Then a major storm hit, they weren’t prepared for it, and you blame that lack of preparedness on the people trying to warn the city to prepare?

Vulcanologist - “I’m afraid the mountain you all live on is an active volcano, and the potential for disaster is catastrophic.”
Village - “Pssh! This mountain hasn’t erupted within living memory!”
Vulcanologist - “Even if it hasn’t, it’s getting ready to. It could potentially erupt any day now.”
Village - “Yeah, sure, whatever you say.”

a year passes

Vulcanologist - “I’ve taken fresh readings, the volcanic activity is 20% greater than it was a year ago. You’re sitting on a time bomb.”
Village - “That’s what you said a year ago, but look! No eruption! Face it, you’re a quack!”

another year passes

Vulcanologist - “I’m leaving.”
Village - “Why?”
Vulcanologist - “My readings indicate that an eruption is overwhelmingly likely to happen. I give it a week at most.”
Village - “Hah! This again? Look, this mountain is a docile as a kitten! But go ahead! Run away from your imagination! No one here will miss you!”

eruption three days later

Handful of Survivors - “This is all that scientist’s fault! If he hadn’t cried wolf, we would have taken him seriously!”

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