Super Typhoon Meranti battered Taiwan today as it continued on its path towards the coast of China. Some sources suggest 500,000 homes have been left without power as the strongest storm of the year swept across the island.
Winds reaching a maximum of over 200km/h have bought down trees and power lines. Many domestic and international flights were cancelled and railways were shut down in preparation. One thousand five hundred people were evacuated to safer areas.
Taiwan is well prepared for tropical storms like Meranti and its steep terrain (land) helps to prevent damaging storm surges causing too much damage.
The super typhoon is expected to continue on to China and make landfall in either Guangdong or Fuijin on Thursday where the authorities are cancelling trains and preparing to evacuate thousands of people. The effects of Typhoon Meranti are expected to be worse in China as flatter terrain means a powerful storm surge can flood a larger area.
Storm surges can be one of the most devastating aspects of tropical storms. Strong winds and low air pressure cause the level of the sea to rise underneath a tropical storms. As the storm approaches land the raised level of the sea can flood inland for many kilometres.