More than 550,000 households in Taiwan were without electricity on Wednesday as Super Typhoon Meranti crossed the Bashi Channel and grazed the southernmost parts of the country, bringing powerful winds and torrential rain.

With gusts of more than 227 kph — the strongest ever recorded by the Hengchun meteorological station since it was set up in 1896 — Meranti is the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Taiwan since 1995, the Central Weather Bureau said. The Category 5 Meranti is also the world’s strongest storm this year.

As of 3 pm, total rainfall accumulations had reached 707 mm in Pingtung’s West Dawu (西大武山), 436 mm in Hualien’s Tienhsiang (天祥), 369 mm in Taitung’s Shangli (上里) and 304 mm at Yilan’s Taipingshan (太平山).

About 1,000 people in mountainous areas in southern parts of the country have been evacuated, primarily in Kaohsiung's Taoyuan District and Chiayi's Meishan District.

Hundreds of domestic and international flights to airports in southern parts of Taiwan have been cancelled or delayed due to the storm, which as of 3 pm was located 60 km west-northwest of Kaohsiung. Train services on the East Coast Line, the South Link Line, the Hualien-Taitung Line and the Alishan Railway Line were canceled on Wednesday, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said.

Five people have been reported injured so far.

Meranti is expected to make landfall in Guangdong and Fujian provinces tomorrow, promoting evacuations and the cancelling of various train services. According to China News Service, Meranti could be the strongest typhoon to hit those areas of China since 1969.

Menawhile Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau reports that Typhoon Malakas, which has formed in the Pacific, could affect Taiwan on Sept. 16 or 17 before veering off toward Japan.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White