The storm -- the rough equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane -- was accompanied by gusts as high as 175 mph when it made landfall about 4:30 a.m. local time Friday at Guiuan, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said.
Thos wind speeds tied Yolanda with Super Typhoon Lekima for the strongest tropical system worldwide for the 2013 season, based on wind speed and central pressure, AccuWeather.com said.
The center of the storm was located about 490 miles southwest of Manila and was moving west at 25 mph.
Yolanda is expected to maintain a west-northwest track for about 48 hours, before turning northwest, and is forecast to maintain super typhoon strength for the next 24 hours, forecasters said.
Warnings were posted in the region for flashfloods, landslides and storm surges as high as 23 feet, inquirer.net reported.
The report said Yolanda is forecast to move through Biliran, part of Cebu, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Romblon, Semirara Island, southern Mindoro and Busuanga before leaving the island chain and heading toward the West Philippine Sea.
More than 1,500 travelers were stranded across the Philippines Thursday as the storm moved closer to the Eastern Visayas region, officials said.
Philippine Coast Guard Cmdr. Armand Balilo said a heightened weather alert stranded 1,541 passengers in central, western, and eastern Visayas, as well as in Bicol region, the Philippine Sun.Star reported.
Balilo said shipping operators in the ports of Manila, Cebu and other terminals in southern Negros and Bohol canceled operations since Wednesday in anticipation of rough waters.
Several flights from at least two airports were canceled because of the typhoon, officials said.
At least seven regional consular offices suspended operations with the looming threat of Typhoon Yolanda, the Sun.Star said.
On its current track, Yolanda, harboring torrential rains and damaging winds, will cross the Philippines Friday, weather forecasters said.
After slamming the Philippines, forecasters said Yolanda would remain a dangerous cyclone as it emerges in the South China Sea and moves to the west-northwest Saturday.
AccuWeather.com said Yolanda's projected track will take the storm toward Vietnam late Sunday into Monday.