Some of the first reports coming out of Tacloban have indicated the city of 250,000 has been devastated by a massive storm surge and high winds that ripped through the city this morning. The video below shows the storm surge during the height of the storm. At this point though this is just a glimpse in to the extent of the damage that has so far been reported in the city..
Thousands of people have evacuated coastal areas ahead of this violent Typhoon today following warnings from officials from as high up as the President to take the warnings seriously and head to shelters during this storm. At one of the evacuation centers the storm brought down the roof of a church in Leyte resulting in at least 20 deaths. A GMA news reporter was taking shelter in the Church during the event and during an interview on GMA Friday evening it was said to be seen on her face how tragic the event must have been. Despite these initial reports here on Friday night when typing this update, information still remains limited out of the region due to power being cut off and communications in a near black out. Still no word as of Friday night from the Chase Crew including James Reynolds @typhoonfury who has positioned themselves ahead of this monster storm. The death toll is now over 20 and sadly this number is almost certainly expected to rise. WE still hope for the best though and the of deaths from this storm continue to remain low. Right now Haiyan is still packing winds sustained over 200kph. The good news is that it continues to race west through the Philippine sea at about 40kph. This means by Saturday morning most of the weather will be over with for the Philippines. The down side is it has maintained its strength as it screams west. The Metro Manila area on Friday night though is feeling the impacts of the Signal Force 2 Warnings as the storm races towards the south of the City. Torrential rainfall over 200-300mm is still possible as well. In Surigao 250mm has been reported in the past 24hrs. This is just one weather station and areas that are not do not have a weather station recording rainfall in Samar may be much higher. After the Storm exacts the Philippines it will not be over yet. Vietnam is now making preparations for this violent system to make landfall as still a Very Strong Typhoon By Sunday Monday morning. Here rainfall amounts up to 150-200mm are expected through Monday. Heavy rainfall farther inland for Laos is also anticipated as the storm starts to slow down through the early part of next week.