Super Typhoon Haiyan: Why Monster Storm Is So Unusual
The massive typhoon striking the Philippines is both big and late in the season.
The storm, described by some as "tropical cyclone perfection" and "off the charts," packed sustained winds of 195 miles (315 kilometers per hour), with gusts as strong as 235 miles (380 kilometers per hour). Experts predict the typhoon—also known as Yolanda in the Philippines—could end up being the strongest storm to ever make landfall since modern record-keeping began, according to The Washington Post.
"It's knocking our socks off," said Jim Kossin, an atmospheric scientist with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climatic Data Center. (Related: "What's a Typhoon, Anyway?")
But what happens to create such a megastorm?
There are several environmental factors that play into how strong a storm can get, Kossin explained. The storms thrive on