Typhoon Meranti slammed into southeastern China on Thursday, bringing strong winds and lashing rain and cutting power in what state media said was the strongest storm of the year globally, but there were no immediate reports of casualties. The storm, registered as a super typhoon before losing strength after sweeping southern Taiwan, made landfall in the early hours near the major city of Xiamen. Pictures on state media showed flooded streets in some parts of the province of Fujian, where Xiamen is located, fallen trees and crushed cars.
Dozens of flights and train services have been cancelled, state television said, inconveniencing people at the start of the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday. Some parts of Xiamen, including both urban and rural areas, had power supplies cut off, the report added. Xinhua news agency said it was the strongest typhoon to hit that part of the country since the founding of Communist China in 1949 and the strongest so far this year anywhere in the world.
Tens of thousands of people had already been evacuated as the storm approached and fishing boats called back to port. One person died and 38 were injured in Taiwan, the Central Emergency Operation Centre said, as the typhoon hit the southern part of the island on Wednesday. Meranti was a Category 5 typhoon, the strongest classification awarded by Tropical Storm Risk storm tracker, before it made landfall on the mainland and has since been downgraded to Category 2.
Typhoons are common at this time of year, picking up strength as they cross the warm waters of the Pacific and bringing fierce winds and rain when they hit land. Meranti will continue to lose strength as it pushes inland and up towards China’s commercial capital of Shanghai, but will bring heavy rain.