Typhoon Utor on the coast of China
Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 12:03 PM -
Typhoon Utor is packing a punch as it rolls into China. This system is currently passing through Hong Kong and making its way up into the southern part of mainland China. It carries with it extremely high winds and torrential rain. Sustained winds are estimated at 148km/h with wind gusts moving as fast as 185 km/h.
This has resulted in the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in Beijing and more than 60,000 people being evacuated in the city of Maoming. An additional 98,000 people have also been moved south of Maoming to the province of Hainan where they will remain until the storm passes.
Rey Balido, a spokesman for the national disaster agency, had this to say about the impact of the typhoon:
“As of now, we don't have communication (with the three towns) and the roads are not passable, even to motorcycles, due to landslides, rockslides and uprooted trees.” He also notes that authorities have been using alternate routes to get around these places and that the three towns will see relief coming from the Philippine air force.
No immediate reports of damage or injuries have been made on the mainland, although six people in Hong Kong have reported injuries. Other than this, Hong Kong seems to have come out of the storm with no more damage than about 21 trees being blown down.
But China has also had to battle the heat in addition to the storm. Earlier this week both Hong Kong and Japan have seen extremely hot weather. On August 12 Hong Kong had a high of 34, while Shimanto Japan broke records with temperatures exceeding 41 degrees. Tokyo wasn’t much better, experiencing 37.5 degree heat.
So far Typhoon Utor has been the world’s strongest typhoon of the year. It was its strongest early last week before it crossed the Philippines but has since weakened in strength. It is also responsible for taking the lives of at least seven people and leaving four missing.