13M Filipinos to be Affected by Category 5 Typhoon Haiyan, World’s Strongest in 2013

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 7, 2013 12:20 PM EST

About 13 million Filipinos stand to get affected by the possible ill effects of Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda), which has morphed into a Category 5 super typhoon, the world's strongest so far in 2013.

Typhoon Haiyan is pictured in this NOAA satellite handout image taken November 6, 2013 at 23:13 UTC. The Philippines evacuated coastal areas and put emergency workers on alert on Wednesday as a storm expected to grow into a super typhoon headed towards central islands still recovering from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit last month. REUTERS/NOAA/Handout via Reuters (PHILIPPINES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

As of early Thursday morning, local weather forecasters have reported Typhoon Haiyan have started batting and dumping rain in the eastern and other sections of Mindanao.

Typhoon Haiyan was described by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) as "violent." It's near-center winds may be at 145 knots (268.54 kph), with gusts already at 175 knots (324.1 kph), according to the United States' Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). Still, these figures could still change as the super typhoon continues to pack in strength.

Based on the figures, the United Nations Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System is expecting the worst for the people of the Philippines.

"Tropical Cyclone HAIYAN-13 can have a high humanitarian impact based on the maximum sustained wind speed and the affected population and their vulnerability."

"Up to 12.9 million people can be affected by wind speeds of cyclone strength or above," the UN research facility noted. "In addition, 1.7 million people are living in coastal areas below 5m and can therefore be affected by storm surge."

The Joint Research Center by the European Commission said Typhoon Haiyan's storm surge can reach as high as 2.1 metres or around 10 feet.

"The calculations identify the populated places affected by storm surge up to three days in advance, using the forecasted track. When forecasts change, the associated storm surge changes too and alert levels may go up or down," the JRC said.

In this picture taken October 29, 2012 a truck drives through storm surge flooding of a road during Superstorm Sandy in Southampton, New York. The historic superstorm killed at least 159 people and damaged more than 650,000 homes when it made landfall on October 29, 2012, devastating parts of New York, New Jersey and several other states. TO MATCH ONE YEAR HURRICANE SANDY ANNIVERSARY BEFORE AFTER PACKAGE. Picture 2A. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANNIVERSARY DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

The Philippines' Department of Science and Technology expects Typhoon Haiyan to make landfall on Samar and Leyte at mid-day on Friday. International weather forecasters predict it will blast the country by Friday morning local time.

The storm, with gust winds recently recorded at 72 mph, is currently in the vicinity of Yap and Palau.

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