The Philippines is preparing to ride out the biggest cyclone the world has endured this year. The storm has earned the classification equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, with winds that gust anywhere from 190 mph to 230 mph. In fact, the super Typhoon known as Haiyan is predicted to be one the strongest tropical cyclones ever documented according to CNN.
The super typhoon is expected to hit two central Philippine Islands, Samar and Leyte, the hardest. It is expected to reach the Philippines early Friday morning local time; however violent winds and heavy rains have already begun to pelt the multitudes of islands that make up the Philippines.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino warned people to leave the coastal regions of islands, as waves and storm tides are expected to reach as high as 23 feet. "No typhoon can bring Filipinos to their knees if we'll be united," Aquino said in a televised address.
He also promised to have helicopters, cargo planes and navy ships on standby to assist any communities in need. "I have issued a call to prepare for the worst," Aquino told Reuters news agency.
More than 3,800 people have been relocated to evacuation centers until the storm passes.
"Rain totals along the path of Haiyan could top 8 inches," AccuWeather meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski told USA Today. Flooding and mud slides are also likely, due to the excessive rain.
The storm comes only weeks after an earthquake rocked the Philippine island of Bohol, turning many people's homes to rubble while displacing around 350,000 people, according to Philippine authorities. Many of the displaced persons have been living in flimsy makeshift tents, making places of refuge from the storm even more crucial in terms of limiting safety.