The strongest typhoon this year slammed into the central Philippines on Friday, setting off landslides and knocking out power and communication lines in several provinces. At least four people died.
Southern Leyte Gov. Roger Mercado said super typhoon Haiyan triggered landslides that blocked roads, uprooted trees and ripped roofs off houses around his residence.
This storm is so strong because it is over very warm water which is also very deep. Sometimes if a storm is over warm water, which they need to form and maintain strength, but it is shallow, the waves mix the cooler water to the surface and the storm weakens. This is not the case with Haiyan. To become a monster storm you also need very light winds pushing it along or the storm gets tilted and ripped apart.
One thing that might help mitigate the damage a bit is if the storm either comes onshore north of the large Bay that you see just to its left in this picture because that Bay will act like a funnel and cause a bigger storm surge. Another possible factor that could help would be if the eye collapses and is in the process of reforming. These large storms have to replace their eyewall every so often, and while they are in the process of doing that they weaken.