TAIPEI >> Power was partially restored in Taiwan on Friday after a powerful typhoon slammed into the island’s eastern coast with ferocious winds and torrential rains, killing two people and injuring 72.
Typhoon Nepartak, the first typhoon to form in the northwestern Pacific this year, pounded the island with heavy rain and powerful winds, forcing the closure of schools and government offices. Video footage showed scenes of destruction with roofs ripped off buildings, trees uprooted and cars overturned.
Josh Morgerman, an American who pursues storms and documents them online, wrote on Facebook that the typhoon was “one of the worst I’ve been in.” He was in the southeastern county of Taitung when Nepartak struck, he wrote, adding that “the howling was deafening as the air filled with lethal swirling debris.”
“The driveway is filled with every kind of wreckage from God knows where, including signs, branches, tin, a nice old chair, etc. The school across the street has lost almost all of its roof,” he wrote.
In the Philippine capital Manila and outlying provinces, government work and classes were suspended Friday as typhoon-induced monsoon rains drenched many regions. Rescuers used rubber boats to move people around in waist-high floodwaters.
The storm hit Taiwan as a Category 4 typhoon, the second-most powerful category, according to Tropical Storm Risk, a private forecasting organization based in Britain. The eye of the storm came ashore at 5:50 a.m. in Taitung County, and the typhoon slowed as it moved west.
About 430,000 households were affected by power cuts, but half of them had electricity restored in the afternoon.
Trading on Taiwan’s financial markets was suspended Friday. Train and bus operators suspended some services, and dozens of flights were canceled.
By late morning, Nepartak had weakened to a medium-strength typhoon, packing maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour and gusts of up to 143 mph, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said.
Although the typhoon was losing power, disaster response officials said they remained concerned that the heavy rains would trigger floods and landslides in the rugged terrain.
Taiwanese authorities reported that more than 15,400 people have been evacuated from 14 counties and cities.
It was expected to make landfall in Fujian province on Saturday morning, according to the China Meteorological Administration. The agency said it expected the storm to then lose force as it moved north into Zhejiang province.
The agency warned that Nepartak could bring heavy rainfall to China’s eastern coast. This comes as much of eastern China has faced torrential rains for days, with floods and hail claiming at least 164 lives and leaving many others injured and at least 26 missing, according to figures released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Friday.
The floods have displaced nearly 2 million people and destroyed 73,000 buildings, the ministry estimated.
Nepartak is a Micronesian word for a local warrior.
The Associated Press and New York Times contributed to this story.