The most powerful typhoon of the year swept through the Luzon Strait separating the Philippines and Taiwan on Saturday, battering island communities and dumping rain as it eyes landfall in Hong Kong.
Super Typhoon Usagi had maximum sustained winds of 222 kph and gusts exceeding 260 kph on Saturday morning, and was 550 km south of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, according to the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre. A storm achieves super typhoon status when winds reach 240 kph.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said later Saturday that Usagi was veering west, likely sparing southern Taiwan from the most destructive winds near its eye.
But gusts exceeding 230 kph were recorded on the Taiwan island of Lanyu, and the bureau warned that dangerous winds were buffeting the holiday resort of Kending on the Hengchun peninsula as the storm makes its closest approach to the area.
In the Philippines, Usagi triggered landslides and power outages in parts of the north of the country, including the Batanes island group where it made landfall early Saturday. No casualties have been reported.