Storm intensity is measured by central pressure, the atmospheric pressure at the core of a cyclone. The lower the core preasure, the more intense the storm. Haiyan, at its peak, was measured at 895 hPa (hectopascals). In the North Atlantic, Hurricane Wilma, in 2005, was measured at 882. You have to go back to 1979’s Typhoon Tip, to find the most intense storm ever recorded in the Western North Pacific—it pulled 870 hPa and tops the list of all time most intense storms. In fact, when compared to that region’s list of most intense storms, Haiyan ties with a clutch of other storms—most recently Yuri in 1991—for an ignominious 21st place. Not only was Haiyan not the most intense storm ever seen, it’s not even in the running.
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