I have seen this around and I want to say if you share this MEME for political purposes you are contributing to the un-education of your fellow countryman, regardless of your political view this is a unfair and misleading meme that I personally find disgusting and insults all the hard working people on the ground during these disasters. I am not taking sides by the way in at political debate so please do not comment on this with anything political. Just from a pure science / preparation standpoint. HERE IS SOME MAJOR POINTS!

1. Yolanda’s strength. Yolanda was a much stronger storm by official records, and it wasn’t even close. I’m not sure where they got the 315kph gusts for this post, but there were no measurements of that taken as far as I know. In addition, many agencies actually put Yolanda’s SUSTAINED wind speeds, which is actually how a storm’s strength is measured, near 285kph, with JTWC saying Yolanda was 315kph sustained winds. During Lawin’s peak, no one in official circles was asking if it was as strong as Yolanda. We didn’t have to.

2. Size of a storm does not matter due to what’s being measured compared to what actually affects people. A storm’s “size” as described within, consists of measuring the overall satellite profile, 50% of which is mostly upper-level outflow clouds captured by the camera. The outflow clouds are high in the atmosphere and have no effect on the surface. The core of most tropical cyclones, where at least tropical storm-strength winds take place, is usually only 150-200km across, even in the largest storms. From Wikipedia: “Observations indicate that size is only weakly correlated to variables such as storm intensity (i.e. maximum wind speed), radius of maximum wind, latitude, and maximum potential intensity.”

3.Thirdly, the differences in topography and municipal structure are far different for each scenario, with small town along the thin, rocky coast of Isabela, compared to one large town of 100,000+ people in a sheltered bay with wide waterfront expanses and dense waterfront construction in place.

4. Ultimately, who was president would not have factored into the outcome of either event. Geography and the true magnitude of the storm play a much bigger role.

Finally, just as a side-note, was the meme-maker so lazy that they had to just put the same picture to represent each storm? I mean, at least have the correct pictures of the storms your talking about.

And a last reminder this is not meant to be political. Its just to point out the grotesque misleading of this simple meme and to warn you before sharing that you might be better off trying a different route to share your political opinions. If you want to make a case for how leadership saved lives share information about a new shelter that was built in the last few months, or show examples of disaster response in the hardest hit areas and how leader ship effected it. Which to the credit of the Philippine government has improved since Yolanda, with both administrations, but is still not the ultimate difference in the final casualty toll of these two very different storms.


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