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Tuesday, August 4, 2015, 22:31

Taiwan braces for strongest typhoon of the year

By Agencies/

Taiwan braces for strongest typhoon of the year
Super Typhoon Soudelor is expected to move across the western North Pacific, edging closer to the seas in the vicinity of Taiwan in the next few days. ( Hong Kong Observatory photo)

The world’s strongest typhoon of the year is edging closer to Taiwan and is expected to hit the island Friday night or Saturday morning.

Super Typhoon Soudelor underwent rapid intensification Monday after ripping through the Pacific island of Saipan and has become the strongest tropical cyclone on Earth so far in 2015.

The US National Weather Service forecast that the sustained wind speed near the center of Soudelor may reach over 280 kph, and Taiwan’s meteorological department said Soudelor may cause severe damage to the island.

Soudelor is now over more than 2,000 km away from Taiwan and the department may consider issuing an alert as early as Thursday.

Meanwhile, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) predicted that Soudelo would make landfall in Fujian and neighboring Zhejiang province late on Saturday.

Soudelor slammed into Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands Sunday night and early Monday, with sustained winds around 160 kph and gusts up to 190 kph, causing widespread damage.

According to the NOAA’s National Weather Service in Guam, waves about 9 meters high hit the island as the storm approached. Some roads are still impassable, power and water supply are out. The governor of Saipan has declared "a state of disaster and significant emergency".

No deaths have been reported so far.

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