Aug 09

Typhoon Soudelor cuts power to 1 million in southern China (Los Angeles, Aug 8, 2015):

After leaving a trail of death and destruction in Taiwan, Typhoon Soudelor crashed into southern China’s Fujian province late Saturday, leaving more than 1 million people without power and prompting the evacuation of 160,000.

Six deaths and 185 injuries were linked to Soudelor in Taiwan, where the storm made landfall before dawn Saturday, bringing winds up to 150 mph and torrential rain. Four people were still missing early Sunday.

The wind was so strong that it blew a cargo train off its tracks in Yilan County in Taiwan. In Kaohsiung, an 880-pound Buddha statue was toppled from its pedestal, the Central News Agency said. Gusts snapped 200-foot-tall turbines at a wind farm in Taichung.

Taiping Mountain, in Yilan County on the island’s northeast side, got 4.2 feet of rain in less than 48 hours, the Central Weather Bureau said. That’s as much as the area normally receives in six months, officials said.

“Extreme torrential rain,” defined as 1.6 feet of precipitation in 24 hours, was reported in all parts of Taiwan except for the outlying Kinmen and Lienchiang counties and some neighborhoods of Taipei.

Businesses across Taiwan were reopening Sunday and bus and rail links were being put back in service. At one point, more than 3 million households were without electricity, but power was restored to the majority of those customers.

On mainland China, flights were canceled to Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province, and train service was suspended. Authorities reported 10,000 trees had been uprooted and traffic was snarled.

The dead in Taiwan were a young girl and her mother who were swept out to sea; the girl’s twin sister also was missing, the agency reported. A man was swept down a river to his death in the central part of the island, and a firefighter who was trying to clear a downed tree from a road was killed by a drunken driver, the agency said. Another man was killed by a falling signboard; a motorcyclist died after running into a fallen tree.

Taiwan braces for typhoons each year from July through October. Soudelor was among the most powerful Taiwan has seen in decades.

In a tract of hilly residential streets south of Taipei, broken or uprooted trees blocked much of an arterial road until chain-saw crews could clear space, 12-year resident Alberto Buzzola said late Saturday.

He had no water as of 6:30 p.m., after power and phone outages most of the day. “It’s the usual for a typhoon, but this is the worst in this area,” he said.

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