Tylerite Ed Santos, on Friday, said he was safe at the home of his father and brother on the island of Luzon, Philippines, as the family rode out Typhoon Haiyan.
"We have definitely felt the impact," the 46-year-old physical therapist said by phone. About two-thirds of Luzon felt the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan, or "Yolanda" as it is translated into English, Santos said.
Santos went back to the Philippines four weeks ago to visit his family and expects to be back in Tyler in less than 10 days.
The typhoon was one of the strongest storms on record when it slammed into the central Philippines, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes and knocking out power and communications in several provinces, according to The Associated Press. But the nation appeared to avoid a major disaster because the rapidly moving typhoon blew away before wreaking more damage, officials said.
Nearly 750,000 people in the Philippines were forced to flee their homes, according to The Associated Press. Weather officials said Haiyan had sustained winds of 147 mph with gusts of 170 mph when it made landfall. By those measurements, Haiyan would be comparable to a strong Category 4 hurricane in the U.S., nearly in the top category, a 5, according to The Associated Press.
"The rain was coming down so hard it was horizontal," Santos said, adding that the Visayan Islands in the central Philippines took the brunt of the storm. But the effects of the storm were beginning to taper off on Friday night, he said.
Santos, who is active in many events in Tyler's Philippino-American community, asked for prayers.
"We sure can use donations of all kinds," he said. He suggested contacting the Red Cross to donate funds, or Dr. Alfred Llave, a Tyler physician and leader in the Philippino community, to donate at 904-476-2101.