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Typhoon Soudelor scenes of destruction, 14 dead

Digital writers

Sunday, August 9, 2015, 9:31 AM - Former Typhoon Soudelor slammed eastern China as a tropical storm on Saturday, after devastating Taiwan earlier that day.

Though the system has passed, the risk of flooding and mudslides remains a major threat to several regions due to widespread rain.

Heavy downpours have caused mudslides and collapsed houses in the eastern city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang. Rain drenched Fujian and Zhejiang provinces, dropping more than 400 millmetres of rain in some areas. Since Soudelor struck, at least 14 people have perished and many more are missing.

The storm made landfall in Taiwan's Hualien County around 5 a.m. local time Saturday (Friday 5 p.m. EST), leaving more than 4 million customers without power at the peak of the storm.

Wind gusts of up to 230 km/h were recorded in Taiwan, with even stronger winds being felt in Japan. More than 1300 mm of rain fell in Taipingshan, Taiwan as of 5 p.m. local time with more rain expected.

The winds were strong enough to lift a motorcycle off the road, captured in the video below.

安全比賺錢重要懂不懂出了人命你們誰也賠不起風大成這樣 雨下成這樣還要去上班真的很誇張欸!!!!!!#摩托車整台飛起來欸#這是我爸載我姐去他們公司拍到的󾍁󾍁󾍁#版權所有切勿盜文。

Posted by 真隨便 on Friday, August 7, 2015

Taiwanese news sources say an eight-year-old girl and her mother died after being swept out in rough waves whipped up by the powerful storm's sustained winds of 200 km/h.

Another girl, the eight-year-old's twin sister, remains missing, though the coast guard did manage to rescue a different eight-year-old girl who survived by clinging to the body of the twins' mother, according to rescue workers quoted by Focus Taiwan.

Around 2,000 people were evacuated by the military from some of Taiwan's outlying islands, many businesses are shut, high speed and regular train services are suspended and several flights have been cancelled ahead of the storm, which is set to cross the main island's midsection later Friday.

The Central Weather Bureau warned 16 cities and counties of Soudelor's intense rain and powerful winds. 

Once a Category 5 super typhoon, Soudelor was declared 2015's most powerful tropical storm earlier this week, shortly before it lashed the Northern Marianas, a U.S. commonwealth.

The island of Saipan, where most of the territory's 50,000 residents reside, was thoroughly slammed by the storm. Most of the area is without power and clean water even now, four days after the main hit.

President Barack Obama declared the area a disaster zone, freeing up federal aid, and residents quoted by USA Today say most major roadways have been cleared of debris, but many homes have been damaged or destroyed. 

The storm's strength is expected to continue to weaken as it tracks inland toward the northwest, with rain tapering off by Tuesday.

So far this year, the West Pacific Basin has seen 10 typhoons with five reaching super-typhoon strength. This surpasses the annual average of four. 

SOURCES: Focus Taiwan | The Guardian | Joint Typhoon Warning Center | USA Today | The Weather Channel | CNN

-- With files from Leeanna McLean

Below: Take a look at some of the images coming from Taiwan showing just how powerful the typhoon was and the extent of the damage it inflicted.

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