Typhoon Soudelor kills at least 24 in China and Taiwan

At least 24 people are dead after Typhoon Soudelor slammed into southeastern mainland China and Taiwan, official agencies said.

The storm left 17 people dead in China, most of them in the eastern Chinese cities of Wenzhou and Lishui, where heavy rains triggered mudslides and caused houses to collapse, state news agency Xinhua reported. Across the strait in Taiwan, seven others have been confirmed dead.

The storm reached super typhoon status over the ocean, recording peak winds of 180 miles per hour, but weakened to a tropical storm before it made landfall on Saturday. The West Pacific Basin has seen 10 typhoons so far this year.

Soudelor reached China’s southern Fujian province on Saturday night in the city of Putian. More than 185,000 people had been moved to higher ground, Xinhua said. Some 3.1 million people have been affected in China, according to the National Command for Flood and Drought Resistance.

Earlier on Saturday, Soudelor hit Taiwan north of the city of Hualien, where it killed seven. Five people remain missing and 402 have been injured, Taiwan’s National Fire Agency said on Sunday.

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

At least 11,800 people had been evacuated from 17 counties and cities in Taiwan since Thursday. Authorities deployed more than 35,000 military personnel to relocate residents in vulnerable areas as the typhoon made its way across the Pacific Ocean.

One city in northern Taiwan saw a wind gust measured at 210 kilometers per hour (130 miles per hour) while meteorologists said that the Taipingshan region in the northeast received 40 inches of rain in two days.

Storm chaser James Reynolds spoke to CNN on Saturday from southeastern Taiwan and said that ferocious winds and blinding rain hit as the storm reached land. 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.

According to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller, the greatest risk of mudslides and flooding has passed for Taiwan and eastern China. As the storm moves back out into the East China Sea, it may bring heavy rainfall to the southern parts of the Korean Peninsula and Japan, but it isn’t expected to have a significant impact in that region, according to Miller.

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