The unusual statistical characteristics of Typhoon Haiyan were investigated using the JTWC best track data from 1945 to 2013, particularly focusing on tropical cyclones making landfall in the Philippines. Haiyan generated the strongest winds among a collection of over 400 past storms, which was 16 % greater than the second strongest typhoon on record (Typhoon Zeb in 1998). The forward speed of Haiyan was nearly twice as fast as the average speed of these weather systems and could be the fastest typhoon on record. Thus, Haiyan can be characterized as both the fastest moving and strongest typhoon measured in the area. The return period for a Haiyan-class typhoon to make landfall was estimated to be 200 years. A statistical analysis also indicated that the number of tropical cyclone making landfall around Leyte Island in the Philippines—the area most severely damaged by Haiyan—has been steadily increasing over the past 7 decades. Analysis of sea surface temperature (SST) indicates that both Haiyan and Zeb occurred during seasons that were characterized by remarkably warm SSTs over the seas surrounding the Philippines.
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