While weakened by its brush with Taiwan, Typhoon Meranti is still considered very dangerous+ READ ARTICLE
The storm, weakened on its way to mainland China, made landfall around 3 a.m. local time near Xiamen in southeast Fujian province, CNN reports.
By the time it reached the coast of China, Meranti had been downgraded to the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds around 145 m.p.h. The storm is expected to weaken quickly as it moves across the mainland.
While weaker, Meranti is still considered very dangerous — Chinese authorities have issued their highest warning for ocean waves, and the threat of flash floods, mudslides and damaging wind remains.
State-run media said emergency response measures are being taken in six provinces, including Shanghai. In Xiamen, strong winds shattered windows, cut power and caused disruption to the water supply, state-run news agency Xinhua reports.
Meranti struck Taiwan as a powerful Category 5, classified as a supertyphoon, with winds peaking at 230 m.p.h. and torrential rains.
It did not make landfall, but the eye brushed closely past the island’s southern tip, bringing heavy rain and winds.
Taiwan authorities said two people had been injured and power was cut to more than 500,000 homes, according to CNN.
As of 7 a.m. local time Wednesday over 1,500 people had been evacuated from affected areas, a Taiwan official told the news agency, adding that authorities are not expecting major damage.
The system was the strongest to form anywhere on earth this year, and the most powerful to sweep the Pacific since Supertyphoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in 2013.
Before striking Taiwan on Wednesday, Meranti — at the peak of its power — swept over a spattering of tiny islands in Batanes province of the northern Philippines.
The extent of any damage in the Philippines is still unknown, but a spokesperson from the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare told TIME on Thursday morning that more than 1,600 people had been displaced in the area.
Disaster response teams were ready to deliver assistance to the affected villagers, she said.