Typhoon Soudelor, which on Monday developed into the strongest tropical cyclone Earth has seen so far in 2015, is expected to make landfall in China over the weekend.
The super typhoon, which reached the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane on Monday afternoon with winds of up to 79 meters per second, already roared through the Pacific island of Saipan and is on track to take aim at Japan’s southernmost islands, Taiwan and mainland China.
A direct hit on Taipei is possible, Weather.com reports, and by Saturday, Fujian, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces are most likely to be affected. Soudelor will have have weakened by the time it reaches these areas, but it “will still likely be a strong, formidable typhoon”.
Kind of good news: Shanghai is at the northern edge of the cyclone’s center, and while it won’t pass directly over the city, its influence will bring an end to a days-long heatwave. Bad news: the storm will also bring rain and a chance of local flooding.
Saipan declared a “sate of disaster and significant emergency” after Soudelor’s eye passed directly over the island.
“In just about three hours, Typhoon Soudelor—named after a legendary Pohnpeian chief—left behind a devastated wasteland of wrecked homes, fallen electric posts, uprooted trees, vegetation shorn of their leaves, and impassable roadways,” the Washington Post reported, citing the local Saipan Tribune.
No fatalities as a result of the storm have been reported.
Soudelor became the fifth super typhoon of this year, with 2015’s previous strongest cyclone, Super Typhoon Maysak, measuring around 910 millibars.
[Images via Weather.com // Washington Post]