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Typhoon Soudelor kills dozen in China

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Posted at 11:51 AM, Aug 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-09 11:51:10-04

At least a dozen people have died and five are missing in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou in the wake of Typhoon Soudelor, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency, which cited local disaster management officials.

It was one of the strongest storms anywhere in the world so far this year, with peak winds at 180 miles per hour, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The West Pacific Basin has seen 10 typhoons so far this year.

Soudelor made landfall Saturday night in the city of Putian, in China’s southern Fujian province. More than 185,000 people moved to higher ground, Xinhua reported. The typhoon weakened as it moved inland toward the northwest.

Earlier Saturday, it hit Taiwan north of the city of Hualien. One city in northern Taiwan saw a wind gust measured at 210 kilometers per hour (130 miles per hour).

Soudelor pounded Taiwan on Saturday with sustained winds of 52 miles per hour, the center said. Meteorologists said that Taipingshan received 40 inches of rain in two days.

Earlier in the weekend, Taiwan’s National Fire Agency said at least 185 people were injured.

Those killed in Taiwan 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 missing.

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

Storm chaser James Reynolds spoke to CNN Saturday from southeastern Taiwan and said that ferocious winds and blinding rain hit as the storm made landfall. Huge waves battered the coastline, causing “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,” he said.Video footage showed rescue workers struggling to make their way through surging, thigh-high waters. Many communities suffered mudslides and flooding.

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.