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Powerful typhoon slams into Taiwan; killing 2, injuring 66

  • NASA GODDARD MODIS RAPID RESPONSE/ JEFF SCHMALTZ

    The MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nepartak approaching Taiwan today.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    As fast-moving Typhoon Nepartak makes its way across the Philippines Sea, large waves crash against the breakwaters in Ilan County, eastern coast of Taiwan, Thursday.

  • NASA GODDARD MODIS RAPID RESPONSE/ JEFF SCHMALTZ The MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of Super Typhoon Nepartak approaching Taiwan today.

TAIPEI, Taiwan » A powerful typhoon lost power Friday after slamming into Taiwan’s eastern coast, bringing ferocious winds and torrential rains to the area.

It has killed two people and injuring 66 others. Planes and fishing boats were grounded, while more than 15,000 people were evacuated.

Typhoon Nepartak made landfall Friday morning in Taitung county before weakening to a medium-strength typhoon, the island’s Central Weather Bureau reported.

The typhoon’s center was located 12.4 miles east of the city of Kaohsiung early Friday and was moving northwestward at a speed of 8 miles per hour, the bureau said. The typhoon was likely to continue to slow, but disaster response officials said they remained concerned that the heavy rains would trigger floods and landslides in the rugged terrain.

Li Wei-sen, Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operations Center spokesman, said by phone that the typhoon was packing winds of up to 163 kmh (about 100 miles an hour).

About 390,000 households had been affected by power cuts, most of them in Pingtung and Taitung counties, according to Taiwan’s emergency management service. The island’s railway services have been suspended, while more than 600 domestic and international flights were canceled and another 178 flights were delayed.

The typhoon was estimated to reach mainland China’s Fujian province later Friday. China’s meteorological administration has said the typhoon was likely to make landfall in eastern China on Saturday morning.

Taiwanese authorities reported that more than 15,400 people have been evacuated from 14 counties and cities.

Taiwanese residents had been bracing for the impact of the storm. Restaurant owner Chen Mang-ning said Thursday he had to put a lock on the rolling door of his establishment to protect the windows from strong wind.

“Yes, I am worried about it, same as everyone here,” said fisherman Chen Chun-po.

Hong Kong’s two biggest airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair, said they were canceling flights to and from Taiwan until Friday afternoon.

In the Philippine capital, Manila, and outlying provinces, classes in many schools were suspended and at least six flights, including one scheduled to come from Taiwan, were canceled because of stormy weather and floods following monsoon downpours intensified by the typhoon, Filipino officials said.

Nepartak is a Micronesian word for a local warrior.

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