Nightly News   |  November 11, 2013

Typhoon’s winds stronger than Hurricane Katrina

Typhoon Haiyan may be among the biggest ever recorded, peaking at more than 200 mph with a 20-foot storm surge. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> is extremely vulnerable to storms like this. the island sits in the midst of the warm tropical waters of the pacific that feed the storms along the track. this is the fourth typhoon to hit this year. in the same region devastated by an earthquake just last month. tom costello takes a look inside this storm including how it compares to some of the strongest storms we have seen here in the u.s.

>> reporter: there were no hurricane hunter aircraft inside typhoon haiyan , but meteorologists believe it was one of the biggest ever recorded. 370 miles across with winds peaking well over 200 miles per hour and a 20-foot storm surge . hurricane rankings, a category five.

>> typhoon is the word for hurricanes in the western pacific . there is no difference in the system. typhoons tend to get bigger and stronger because there is more warm water to maneuver in before they run into land.

>> reporter: this super typhoon devastating because it reached peak wind strength right before hitting land. hurricane katrina and wilma in 2005 had peak winds of 175 miles per hour. these are 40 miles per hour winds. at the university of maryland 's wind tunnel researchers strapped me in to experience storm force winds. 74 miles per hour winds now. this could be a t category one storm. from 74 to 96. standing up is virtually impossib impossible. then 115 miles, a fraction of the 195 winds in the philippines. this is an incredibly painful experience. to get blown and buffeted by that's winds. in florida where building codes are strongest most can with stand winds up to oh 140. while scientists can't say whether climate change contributed to this particular typhoon, they believe global warming is making storms stronger.

>> we expect that as we go into the future, the gnumber of hurricanes doesn't necessarily increase but the category fours and fives will increase.

>> reporter: and nothing can stand up to a category five. tom costello, college park , maryland.