Update: At least 4 dead and millions more at risk as Haiyan hits land

The storm maintained its Category 5 strength as it slammed into the Philippines

By Lindsay Abrams

Published November 8, 2013 2:04PM (EST)

Super typhoon Haiyan -- "probably the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in the world in recorded history" -- slammed the central Philippines early Friday, leaving four dead. Over a million people fled their homes and many are left cut off from power and communication.

At its most intense, the storm has sustained winds of 195 mph, and gusts as strong as 235 mph. From CNN:

Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda, appeared to retain much of its terrifying force as it moved west over the country, with sustained winds of 295 kph (185 mph), gusts as strong as 360 kph (225 mph). Haiyan's wind strength makes it equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.

Video footage from on the ground in the Philippines showed streets flooded with debris and howling winds hurling metal sheets through the air.

Gov. Roger Mercado of Southern Leyte, a province in Eastern Visayas close to the storm's path, said Friday morning that "all roads" were impassable because of fallen trees. He said it was too soon to gauge the level of devastation caused by Haiyan.

"We don't know the extent of the damage," Mercado said. "We are trying to estimate this. We are prepared, but this is really a wallop.

The storm is expected to remain powerful and dangerous as it heads west. It should move on toward Vietnam late Friday or early Saturday.

Update 11/8/2013 11:58 EST: Here's what those insane winds looked like this morning:

h/t Atlantic Cities

Lindsay Abrams

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