Typhoon Soudelor hits Taiwan; 4 dead, 1 missing, 27 injured

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Typhoon Soudelor lashed Taiwan on Saturday, downing trees, traffic lights and power lines, and leaving at least four dead, one missing and dozens injured.

The typhoon brought strong winds and heavy rainfall as it made landfall early Saturday and was expected to move into the Taiwan Strait and onto mainland China later in the day.

A total of 27 people have been injured and almost 2 million households were without electricity as the powerful storm left streets strewn with fallen trees, the government's Central News Agency reported.

An 8-year-girl and her mother died when they were swept out to sea Thursday from a beach on the east coast, the agency said. The girl's twin sister remains missing.

Other casualties included a firefighter who was killed and another injured after being hit by a drunken driver as they attempted to move a fallen tree in the island's south, the news agency said.

The center of the storm made landfall in eastern Taiwan at 4:40 a.m. Saturday (2040 GMT Friday).

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said that by mid-morning Saturday, it was packing maximum sustained winds of 162 kilometers (100 miles) per hour and was moving at a speed of 19 kph (12 mph) in a northwesterly direction in Yunlin county on the west coast. It warned that mountain areas should be on alert for landslides and low-lying areas for flooding.

Authorities in southeast China ordered the evacuation of about 158,000 people and ships back to port ahead of the typhoon, which was expected to hit Fujian province on Saturday night.

On Friday afternoon, marine police rescued 55 university students and teachers trapped on a small island where they had been attending a summer camp, after strong gales stopped ferry services, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.