Southeastern China is being walloped by powerful Typhoon Soudelor, forcing thousands of evacuations and knocking out the power of millions of homes, the BBC reported Saturday. The chaotic scene in Fujian province of China comes amid heavy rains and gale force winds, state media reported.
Landfall in China follows the typhoon sweeping through Taiwan killing at least five people. The storm has weakened but the Fuijan province still raised its typhoon alert to the highest level in anticipation. At least 163,000 people were evacuated to higher ground and more people reportedly fled in the nearby Zhejiang province, the BBC said.
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In the coming hours the typhoon is expected to continue along its northwest path inland through the region. Train service and flights in the expected path were canceled. Schools and offices were closed as well. Sustained wind speeds in the Fuijan province were clocking in at a maximum of 85 mph during landfall, the Weather Channel reported.
In Taiwan, the powerful storm killed at least five people and injured at least 185 more, CNN reported. Among those killed were a mother and her daughter who were swept out to sea, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported. The outlet added the family's other daughter is missing as well.
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Forecasters estimated the storm would come with winds of about 125 mph in Taiwan, equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. Gusts in Taiwan Saturday topped out at 142 mph, the BBC said. More than 39 inches of rain fell on parts of Taiwan, with more still possible as the last remnants of the storm moved out, CNN reported. Typhoon Soudelor registered as the most powerful storm yet in 2015 with winds peaking at 180 mph earlier in the week.
"I've never seen such a powerful typhoon in my 60 years," one resident told Taiwan's Formosa TV.