Typhoon Haiyan: What are the strongest and most destructive tropical cyclones on record?

Typhoon Haiyan has claimed thousands of lives on The Philippines island of Leyte, and frantic efforts are under way to get food, water, and medical care to tens of thousands of survivors. The storm may be among the most powerful ever recorded. What are some of the others?

5. Typhoon Vera, 1959

Typhoon Vera is the most destructive storm in Japanese recorded history, and it claimed over 5,000 lives when it touched down in Central Japan in late September, with damage particularly severe around Nagoya. The AP wrote at the time: "Vast areas of crops were ruined. Sea walls were breached, rivers flooded from the torrential rains, ships beached, houses smashed and communications seriously damaged." Then, as now in The Philippines, US troops were involved in the rescue efforts (though of course the US still maintained a vast military presence there). "Despite heroic rescue efforts by police and Japanese and US troops, thousands were still marooned on Nagoya rooftops," the AP reported on Sept. 30. "The commander of US forces in Japan, Lt. Gen. Robert W. Burns, ordered all available US servicemen to join in the relief work." The devastation prompted Japan to establish a long-range radar system on Mt. Fuji to detect storms before they make landfall.

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