Typhoon Soudelor -- touted as the biggest typhoon of this year -- is expected to make landfall in Taiwan early Saturday, authorities said. The typhoon will bring violent winds and incessant rains to the island nation, according to weather forecasters.
On Thursday, the imminent typhoon claimed its first casualty -- an 8-year-old girl who died after being swept away to sea off Taiwan’s eastern coast. Another child was listed missing in the incident while a 38-year-old woman and another girl survived.
"The girl who died and the one who went missing were swept away by strong waves," a spokesman for Taiwan's National Fire Agency told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Local officials reportedly cautioned that the typhoon could bolster before slamming the rugged coastal area. Authorities relocated over 2,000 people from Taiwan’s offshore islands.
Offices and schools were closed Friday morning in Yilan and Hualien counties on eastern coast while other counties, mostly in the north and east, are expected to follow suit, according to AFP.
Although the typhoon has weakened, its maximum winds at the time of landfall are predicted to be around 200 kph (125 mph), which is reportedly equal to a Category 3 hurricane.
Torrential rains and gusty winds will grapple nine cities and 12 counties, the country’s weather bureau warned Friday. "By midnight, tropical storm force winds will circulate around the entire island before it moves across," meteorologist Tom Sater said, according to CNN.
After Taiwan, the typhoon will move toward China where it is likely to make landfall late Saturday or Sunday, according to AccuWeather.com. China's eastern provinces of Anhui and Jiangsu, and southeastern provinces of Fujian and Jiangxi, will reportedly be flooded following continuous downpour. The areas are likely to receive 100 mm to 200 mm (4-8 inches) of rainfall, while parts of coastal plain from Shantou in Guangdong province to Taizhou in Zhejiang province will experience more than 300 mm (12 inches) rainfall.
The West Pacific Basin witnessed 10 typhoons so far this year, according to reports. Five of those reached super-typhoon strength.