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A woman watches thunderstorms gather over Hong Kong's skyline Thursday as Typhoon Rammasun approached.

Typhoon Batters Chinese Island, Heads For Vietnam

By Alan Greenblatt NPR

The strongest typhoon to hit China in years battered the island of Hainan on Friday.

Typhoon Rammasun killed 54 people as it passed across parts of the Philippines Wednesday and gained strength as it crossed the South China Sea.

It was categorized as a super typhoon by China and has had winds in excess of 130 mph. The city of Haikou has had seven inches of rain in six hours, reports CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.

Floods and mudslides are a major concern — as they are in Vietnam, where authorities began evacuating more than 118,000 people in the country’s northern provinces in preparation for Rammasun’s expected arrival Saturday.

The storm has been blamed for one death in China thus far. The Chinese news agency Xinhua is reporting that a man died in the town of Wengtian after being struck by debris as his house collapsed in the storm.

More than 26,000 people on Hainan were evacuated, The Associated Press reports. Hainan is sometimes referred to as “China’s Hawaii” and resorts, ferries, tour buses and trains have suspended operations.

“On the nearby mainland, the typhoon will also affect southwestern Guangdong province and southeastern Guangxi province,” USA Today reports. “The National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center forecast storm surges bringing waves of up to 20 feet in coastal Guangdong.”

The storm has also brought high winds and rain to Hong Kong, which is northeast of Hainan.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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