Philippine Science Letters
vol. 6 | no. 2 | 2013
published online November 19, 2013


Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines:
pushing the envelope

by Helen T. Yap



This familiar phrase was employed by a weather specialist of CNN, the international news network, while it monitored typhoon Haiyan (known as “Yolanda” in the Philippines) as the latter tore its way through the central Visayas on November 8, 2013, wreaking untold havoc. It was clear that the international community of meteorologists and other scientists were fascinated, if not stunned, by the sheer power of this natural phenomenon as it unleashed its fury on our hapless country. The CNN broadcaster speculated that the typhoon was “pushing the envelope” as far as its strength was concerned, exceeding wind speeds of 300 kilometers per hour (kph) which did not at all diminish when it made landfall. The same presentor went on to suggest that it “defied the laws of physics.”