Typhoon Soudelor hits Taiwan

TAIWAN (CNN)  — Typhoon Soudelor pounded Taiwan with fierce winds and torrential rain Saturday, killing five people before barreling on to China as a tropical storm.

About 185 people were injured and five others remain missing, according to Taiwan’s National Fire Agency.

Those killed included a mother and her 8-year-old daughter swept out to sea, the nation’s Central News Agency reported, adding that the girl’s twin sister is unaccounted for.

It’s now China’s turn to take a pummeling, with Soudelor making landfall Saturday night in Putian city, in the nation’s southern Fujian province.

Soudelor weakened as it moved inland toward the northwest. It has maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour (52 mph) and gusts of up to 100 kph (62 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

One city in northern Taiwan saw a 210 kph (131 mph) wind gust.

Authorities deployed more than 35,000 military personnel to relocate residents in vulnerable areas as the typhoon made its way across the Pacific Ocean.

Taiwanese airlines announced flight adjustments, canceling a number of domestic and international flights for Saturday, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency. Railways also suspended high speed and regular train services, the agency said.

The Central Weather Bureau warned 16 cities and counties that they were likely to experience intense rain and powerful winds.

Soudelor became the strongest storm on the planet so far this year with peak winds at 180 mph (290 kph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Storm chaser James Reynolds told CNN from southeastern Taiwan that ferocious winds and blinding rain hit as the storm made landfall, as well as huge waves battering the coastline.

The result, he said, “was a lot of flying debris, a lot of tree damage and along the coastal areas, the waves had inundated the low-lying areas, damaging the roads in places as well as some vulnerable properties which were right by the coast.”

More than 725,000 homes were still without electricity Saturday night, with emergency crews working to restore supply, according to state power provider Taiwan Power Co.

Power outages have affected more than 4 million homes across the island, the company said, the biggest power outage seen on the island.

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