Typhoon Rammasun arrived on the southern Chinese island of Hainan on Friday, after cutting northwest through the South China Sea, ABC News reports.
As of Friday morning the storm had killed one Hainan resident, adding to the 54 killed when Rammasun swept through the Philippines on Wednesday.
It’s currently the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane, and observatories on Hainan tracked peak sustained winds of 78 miles per hour (mph), with gusts reaching over 100 mph. More than 26,000 people were evacuated from Hainan as authorities closed resorts and ordered tour operations to cease through Saturday afternoon, but China Central Television has reported that 1,300 people are trapped on the island, with rescue work under way.
Rammasun also injured 100 people in the Philippines, and left two bridges and 20 roads impassable thanks to flooding. It’s the strongest typhoon to hit the country since Super Typhoon Haiyan arrived eight months ago.
Rammasun is expected to make landfall on the Asian mainland early Saturday, cutting through the southern provinces of China and the northern portion of Vietnam. At that point it will still likely be equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. The Xinhua News Agency reported that 36 trains in China’s Guangxi region have been suspended in anticipation of the storm’s arrival, along with trains in the Guangdong province, shipping in the region, and ferries going between Hainan and the mainland. Rammasun is expected to bring the mainland heavy rain and tidal surges, and winds that could reach 93 mph.
According to Xinhua, Rammasun is the most powerful storm to hit Hainan in at least nine years, and possibly the most powerful since 1973. Rising sea levels can bring much stronger storm surges during typhoons like these, increasing the damages and impact to coastal areas.
James Reynolds, a freelance journalist and videographer who was in the Philippines when the storm arrived, said on Twitter that Rammasun looked “immensely powerful — one of the strongest I’ve seen in the (South) China Sea for a long time.”