Powerful Typhoon Malakas batters Taiwan and southern Japanese islands

A powerful typhoon accompanied by strong wind and heavy rain pounded Taiwan and islands in the southern Japanese archipelago Saturday, authorities said.

Typhoon Malakas dumped rainfall of up to 55 millimetres per hour on Japan's Iriomote Island while producing waves of up to 11 metres in the region, the country's meteorological agency said.

More than 550 households lost electricity on Yonaguni Island as wind speeds of up to 66.8 metres per second were recorded there in the morning, Okinawa’s Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper reported.

As of 1 pm (0400 GMT), the eye of the storm was 50 kilometres north-west of Yonaguni Island, travelling north at 20 kilometres per hour (km/h), with maximum sustained winds of 180 km/h and gusts of 252 km/h, the agency said.

In Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau said the country’s north and north-east were expected to see strong wind and torrential rain later in the day.

The season’s 16th typhoon was moving slower than previously predicted, delaying its worst effects upon Taiwan, the Taiwanese state-run Central News Agency said.

"The strength of Typhoon Malakas is not likely to change. Residents should stay alert to heavy rain during daytime Saturday," bureau forecaster Chen Yi-liang said.

Local train services across parts of Taiwan remained suspended.

Typhoon Malakas was hitting Taiwan just two days after Super Typhoon Meranti caused destruction across large parts of the island.

One person was killed, dozens were injured and millions of others were left without power.

In China, Meranti left 28 people dead and another 15 missing in the eastern Fujian province, officials said Friday.

Before it weakened to a tropical storm on Friday, Meranti brought "extraordinary rainstorms" to Fujian and forced at least 331,000 people to relocate, the Xinhua state news agency said.

More than 19,000 homes were destroyed, the agency reported.

Chinese meteorological authorities on Saturday issued a yellow alert for Typhoon Malakas, forecasting strong winds and heavy rain until Sunday in Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.

China uses a four-tier, colour-coded system for inclement weather, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue. 

Last update: Sat, 17/09/2016 - 18:17
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