Japan, Taiwan and China are preparing for the world’s most powerful storm of the year.
Super Typhoon Soudelor tore across the western Pacific Ocean yesterday with wind gusts of up to 220mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The typhoon was rated at a maximum category five.
On Sunday night and Monday morning, Soudelor devastated Saipan as it passed across the Northern Mariana Islands, AFP reported.
It flooded the island’s power plant and ripped the roofs of homes, forcing hundreds of residents to take refuge in shelters.
No deaths were reported but some people received treatment for cuts and wounds.
John Hirsh, executive director of the American Red Cross in Saipan, told Pacific Daily News: “I’ve seen multiple primary power poles down; I’ve seen cars flipped over the road; I’ve seen lots of torn roofs.”
Acting Governor of Saipan Ralph DLG Torres declared a “state of disaster and significant emergency”.
Soudelor became a super typhoon on Monday but was expected it to become more powerful on Tuesday, peaking at 150 knots.
The typhoon is expected to weaken by the time it reaches Japan, Taiwan and China later this week, NASA said.
Satellite pictures of the typhoon have been posted on social media:
Cyclone Pam hit the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean in March and killed at least 15 people. It had previously been the strongest storm of the year.
Additional reporting by AFPReuse content