WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The strongest storm in the world is bearing down on the Philippines.

Supertyphoon Haiyan has top sustained winds of 175 miles per hour, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

To put it in perspective, if this cyclone were churning in the Atlantic Ocean, it would be the most powerful hurricane ever recorded, according to The Weather Channel.

International forecasters say the monster storm will sweep across the tiny Republic of Palau then collide with the Philippine Islands around noon on Friday local time, late Thursday Eastern Standard Time.

Manila, the Philippine capital and home to about 12 million people could be hammered with heavy rains and powerful winds.

Another 10 million people in the central Philippines are at risk from a direct hit.

An earlier typhoon already left much of the islands saturated with water, meaning the risks of flooding and mudslides are even greater.

Filipino forecasters use a different naming system, and are calling the storm Typhoon Yolanda.


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