Super Typhoon Goni, the most powerful storm on the planet this year, slammed into the Philippines Sunday with 195 mph winds, torrential rainfall, and a storm surge of more than 10 feet. The storm, known locally as Rolly, virtually exploded from an ordinary Pacific cyclone into a cataclysmic monster with wind speeds increasing 80 mph in just 24 hours late last week. Nearly 1 million residents were preemptively evacuated, 125 cities of towns were left completely without electricity, and widespread landslides were also reported. The 260,000-person island province of Catanduanes was completely cut off — phone lines are down and its airport tower was unresponsive — and photos and video posted on social media show extensive damage. Goni is the third typhoon to hit the country in as many weeks.
The death toll continues to rise as damage is assessed. Many of the 389,000 evacuees across the country had taken refuge in evacuation centers where social distancing is difficult in typically overcrowded spaces. “Climate change is a big international idea, but we are facing this on the local level and we aren’t equipped with enough progressive vision for it,” Dakila Kim P. Yee, a sociologist at the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College, told the New York Times. (New York Times $, Washington Post $, New York Times $, Reuters, Yale Climate Connections, Earther, NPR, CNN, The Guardian; Rapid intensification: Washington Post $, Yale Climate Connections; Damages: Washington Post $; Climate Signals background: Intense cyclone, hurricane, typhoon frequency increase)