Super Typhoon Usagi, the most powerful storm of 2013 hit and brought torrential rains and strong winds to the Philippines and Taiwan today, uprooting trees and knocking out power as it roared towards Hong Kong. The typhoon battered the Batanes islands in the Philippines overnight with gusts of up to 250 km/ hour, snapping teelcom lines and damaging crops.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center has issued its highest alert, with flooding in the main island of Luzon, the country’s most populous area, while several roads and bridges were rendered impassable.
There were no casualties, although emergency services said they were prepared for the worst with more than 100 families having already been evacuated in one province. In Taiwan, some flights were cancelled and schools and offices closed, especially in the south and east, which were expected to bear the brunt. Hotels in mountainous areas were closed due to fears of flooding and landslides.
As per the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Usagi packed sustained winds of 240 km/ hour with gusts of nearly 300 km/ hour, making it equial to a strong category four Atlantic hurricane. Usagi is still roaring through the Luzon Strait separating the Philippines and Taiwan and is heading directly for the southern Chinese coast.