A massive typhoon packing winds approaching 200 mph and called one of the most powerful storms ever recorded blasted into the Philippines on Friday, killing at two people.

Forecasters warned of potentially catastrophic damage. Trees were down, power was out in parts of the country, there was widespread flooding and communication with the hardest-hit areas was knocked out.

One man died in southern Surigao del Sur province and another was killed by a falling tree, knocked down by strong winds in central Cebu province, officials said.

Super Typhoon Haiyan made morning landfall at Guiuan, a small city in Samar province in the eastern Philippines. The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center said maximum sustained winds were 195 mph, with gusts to 235 mph.

It reached the fragile island chain as the most powerful typhoon or hurricane in recorded history, based on wind speed measurements from satellites, says meteorologist Jeff Masters of Weather Underground.

“”There aren’t too many buildings constructed that can withstand that kind of wind,” Masters said.

Authorities in Guiuan could not be reached for word of any deaths or damage, regional civil defense chief Rey Gozon told DZBB radio.

Forecaster Mario Palafox with the nation’s weather bureau said it had lost contact with its staff in the landfall area.

“This is really a wallop,” Southern Leyte Gov. Roger Mercado said on ABS-CBN television. “All roads are impassable due to fallen trees.”

A reporter for the network in the Tacloban city was drenched in the pounding rain and said he was wearing a helmet as protection against flying debris. Visibility was so poor that only his silhouette could be seen through the driving rain and water. see more

source: usatoday