Local man monitoring Pacific storm

VIENNA – A Vienna man is keeping an eye on his parents and Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Pacific, described as the worst ever recorded.

Mel Mendoza’s parents live in the Mindanao region of the country, the second largest and southernmost island in the Philippines. Drs. Meynardo and Lourdes Mendoza, 85 and 75, respectively, practiced medicine in New York before retiring to the Philippines two years ago.

They live in an area of the Pacific called the ring of fire and are accustomed to earthquakes and other events, Mendoza said.

However, an earthquake comes without warning, he said. A storm is tracked and watched on television and everyone knows it’s coming, Mendoza said.

“It’s hard to describe the feeling right now with this storm,” said Mendoza, who is in sales and lives in Vienna. “You’re watching this big ball on TV move closer and closer to their area.”

Typhoon Haiyan is called Yolanda in the Philippines. The storm is a Category 5 typhoon producing sustained winds of 190 mph.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday said Haiyan was moving west toward the Philippines with maximum sustained winds of around 160 mph. The storm is expected to slightly intensify before it makes landfall today, the agency said.

After it passes the Philippines, the storm will continue west toward Vietnam, the agency said.

The brunt of the storm will be about 70 miles north of the Mendozas home, Mendoza said. The home is fortified, but at the speeds generated by the typhoon, nothing is safe, he said.

“They’ll get hit, but they won’t get hit by the worst part,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza was born in Long Island, N.Y., and came to Parkersburg after meeting his wife, Angie Shepherd, a Parkersburg High School graduate, in college.

Mendoza stays in touch with his parents by first emailing a message to them.

They then contact him through an Internet telephone system on a computer when electrical service where they live enables them to call, said Mendoza. He uses Magic Jack.

The parents live in a remote area about five miles from shore where evacuation would be impractical, Mendoza said. Mendoza said his parents downplayed the situation, more than likely so he and his brother and sister, who live in the states, wouldn’t worry.

“There will probably be a lot of people go to their home and shelter down,” Mendoza said.