Super typhoon Haiyan made landfall today over Guiuan, eastern Samar, in the eastern Visayan Islands of the Philippines and is likely to be the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on record anywhere in the world, according to RMS.

Also referred to as Yolanda, the strong Category 5 storm sustained maximum winds of 195 mph and storm surge heights estimated to have exceeded 16.4 feet, but could be as large as seven meters (23 feet) in some locations.

Haiyan is the strongest tropical cyclone of 2013 globally thus far, according to AIR Worldwide. It will be the strongest to make landfall anywhere in the world since Megi (2010) made landfall in the Philippines with 10-minute sustained wind speeds of 143.5 mph, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Clouds from the storm system are already affecting two-thirds of the country.

Typhoon Haiyan impacts a region of the Philippines that is largely rural and agricultural, although some cities are in the path of the storm, according to AIR Worldwide. While reinforced masonry structures are typical, light materials, such as wood frame with galvanized iron and aluminum roofs, are frequently used for residential buildings in these rural areas making them more vulnerable. Still, given that insurance penetration in this area is around 10 percent to 20 percent, AIR Worldwide doesn’t expect insured losses to be significant as a result of this event.

Haiyan is forecast to weaken slightly as it passes through the central Philippines but will continue moving west-northwest along the southern periphery of the subtropical ridge, said AIR Worldwide. After exiting into the South China Sea, Haiyan is forecast to continue to weaken somewhat as it experiences slowly decreasing sea surface temperatures before making landfall in Vietnam. According to JMA, the storm will reach Vietnam with 10-minute sustained wind speeds of 115 mph, with gusts as high as 161 mph.

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