Nightly News   |  November 08, 2013

Typhoon barrels into Philippines, tearing apart homes

Hundreds of thousands evacuated before the storm hit, but with power and communications cut off, the true scope of the devastation may not be known for days. NBC’s Angus Walker reports.

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>>> either taking reservations and window seats are going fast. "nightly news" begins now.

>>> good evening. we find ourselves tonight in that period between land fall of a monster storm and then learning how bad it was when communications are back up. there is reason to believe though that entire portions of the philippines are cut off tonight and under water after a storm made landfall that's being described as the most powerful on earth ever to hit land. wind gusts at the core were with predicted at over 200 miles an hour. at that speed nothing can remain attached to the earth. waves were reported at 50 feet and higher. after passing through the philippines , the storm that has emerged on the other side is still more powerful than hurricane katrina was. this powerful explosion of nature is where we begin tonight. our report from correspondent angus walker in manila.

>> reporter: haiyan came howling ashore with winds topping 230 miles an hour. houses were torn apart. huge waves crashed ashore. a tidal surge flooded coastal areas. crew members on this barge had to abandon ship and struggled to get to shore. 12 million people live in the path of the storm. hundreds of thousands were forced to evacuate. that almost certainly saved many lives. but with power out and communications cut, an accurate death toll and a true scope of the devastation may not be known for days. do you think there are villages along the coast that have been completely destroyed.

>> yes, i think so. hopefully nobody died there.

>> reporter: the philippines is no stranger to big storms. it's seen two dozen this year, but nothing like this. the images have been spectacular. a composite photograph of the view from the space. the sharply defined eye of the storm at its peak. the gigantic pinwheel hurtling across the philippines toward southeast asia , a storm big enough to cover much of the united states . o are giant storms like this the shape of things to come from global warming ?

>> warming could make these systems stronger. we don't know that that was the case here but this is the most powerful system to ever have made landfall on record snrk a storm more powerful than katrina, andrew, even super storm sandy. angus walker for nbc