Drivers in China braced for wind, rain, and a giant bouncing balloon. Video showed the inflatable "moon" blob rolling down streets and bouncing right over cars Wednesday -- after an approaching typhoon reportedly knocked it loose. The "moon" didn't appear to trigger any serious damage in the southeastern city of Fuzhou. Witnesses were heard screaming and laughing. The balloon appeared to be a decoration for Thursday's start of the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival in both mainland China and Taiwan.
Super Typhoon Meranti has made landfall in southeastern China, bringing strong winds and rain in what state media has called the strongest storm of the year globally. The typhoon arrived in the early hours of Thursday near the major city of Xiamen after sweeping through southern Taiwan on Wednesday and killing one person. Pictures on state media showed flooded streets in some parts of the province of Fujian, where Xiamen is located, fallen trees and crushed cars. Xinhua news agency said it was the strongest typhoon to hit that part of the country since the founding of Communist China in 1949 and the strongest so far this year anywhere in the world. In some parts of Xiamen, including both urban and rural areas, power supplies had been cut off, it said.
TAIPEI – Parts of Taiwan were brought to a standstill Wednesday as Typhoon Meranti skirted past the island's southern tip, bringing the strongest winds in 21 years and disrupting traffic ahead of a major holiday. Although Meranti did not make landfall, the storm brought violent winds and torrential rain to eastern and southern Taiwan. By midafternoon, Meranti was 90 kilometers (56 miles) west-northwest of southernmost Hengchun township, packing gusts of up to 234 kilometers per hour (145 mph). Hengchun's observation station recorded the strongest winds in its 120-year history earlier Wednesday, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau. "Meranti will have its most significant impact on Taiwan today," said forecaster Hsieh Pei-yun.
The strongest super typhoon of the year hit the southern tip of Taiwan as expected on Wednesday morning. According to reports, in anticipation of Super Typhoon Meranti, some 1,500 people were evacuated, but two people were injured by early morning. The power was knocked out across more than 260,000 homes, while hundreds of flights and train services were cancelled. So dangerous outside now in #Kaohsiung, stay inside people! Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said Meranti's winds were the strongest logged in the southernmost coastal town, Hengchun, in the 120 years that it's been keeping track.
Super Typhoon Meranti reached an extraordinary peak intensity on Tuesday morning eastern time, becoming the strongest storm recorded anywhere on the planet this year, with estimated maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour. Wind gusts in the storm's most intense inner core are estimated to be above 220 miles per hour, which would be capable of stripping trees of their leaves and producing catastrophic damage on most human-made structures. Super Typhoon Meranti beat out Super Typhoon Nepartak, which had 180-mile-per-hour winds, and Cyclone Winston, which also peaked at 180 miles per hour, to become the strongest storm of 2016 so far. Meranti poses a serious threat to southwestern Taiwan, particularly the 2 million residents of Kaohsiung City, which is the second most populous city on the island. Heavy rains, strong winds and coastal flooding can be expected on Wednesday, local time, along Taiwan's east and south facing coastline.