Taiwan, 14 September: The strongest storm in the world of this year Super Typhoon Meranti has brought parts of Taiwan to a standstill after ten thousands of homes lost power in the area.
Schools and businesses were closed and flights were cancelled in most eastern and southern counties while trains running along the east coast have been halted — affecting travel for the Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend which starts Thursday.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau had alerted that the Category 5 storm would affect several southern and eastern cities, including Kaohsiung and Hualien, accompanied with strong winds, torrential rain and flooding.
Meranti, which grew in strength as it reached close to Taiwan, with a maximum speed of winds 216 km per hour (134 mph), said meteorologists.
The storm lead to the damage of power cables and trees in the areas.
“This typhoon is the world’s strongest so far this year,” weather bureau spokeswoman Hsieh Pei-yun said. “Its impact on Taiwan will peak all day today.”
Companies and schools in Kaohsiung and other cities have closed and almost 1,500 residents have been evacuated, the Central Emergency Operation Center said in a statement.
Nearly 200,000 households were without power, according to the Taiwan Power Co. Most domestic flights have been cancelled, including all of those from Kaohsiung airport, where international flights were also severely affected.
Taiwan will feel the full force of the typhoon through Wednesday and into Thursday before the storm barrels into China, meteorologists said.
Meranti is expected to trigger landfall in the southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Fujian on Thursday, where authorities were already cancelling train services and preparing to evacuate people, state media said.
Typhoon Meranti hits the island just after two months of the deadly typhoon Nepartak which cut power, grounded flights and forced thousands to flee their homes across central and southern areas of Taiwan.
In 2009, Typhoon Morakot cut a swath of destruction through southern Taiwan,claiming 700 lives and causing up to $3 billion of damage.