Nearly 200,000 homes were without power, schools and businesses were shut and flights were canceled Wednesday as the strongest storm in the world this year, Super Typhoon Meranti, barreled into Taiwan.
The Category 5 weather system was packing maximum winds of 134 mph as it neared the island, meteorologists said.
The storm is the strongest recorded since 2013, when Super Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,000 people in the Philippines.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau warned of strong winds, torrential rain and flooding in southern and eastern cities including Kaohsiung and Hualien.
“This typhoon is the world’s strongest so far this year. Its impact on Taiwan will peak all day today,” said weather bureau spokeswoman Hsieh Pei-yun, according to Reuters.
The storm is expected to pummel Taiwan until it makes landfall in Guangdong and Fujian in southern China on Thursday, meteorologists said.
Authorities in those two provinces are canceling train services and preparing to evacuate people, according to state media.