Powerful Typhoon Soulik continues moving northwest toward the northern tip of Taiwan. As of 2100 UTC (4 pm EDT), this immense tropical system has reached Category 4 status with maximum sustained winds of 115 knots (132 mph/213 kph) and higher gusts. It is likely to reach Super Typhoon status with winds exceeding 137 knots (157 mph/252 kph) later this week. As announced by CNNi Meteorologist Tom Sater, Soulik is expected to hit Taiwan by Friday morning and China on Saturday. These intense winds could cause tremendous damage leading to blackouts and heavy flooding, thus warnings for this region have been issued.
According to local officials, 30 to 40 people have been buried in the Djiangyan landslide in China’s Sichuan province. Continuous rain accumulation and intense flooding led to unstable ground and landslide conditions. On Tuesday, the Qinglian bridge in Jiangyou collapsed, leaving 12 people missing. Since then, the floods have overtaken another bridge in Jiangyou, along with a bridge in Deyang.
Xinhua news agency reports almost 37,000 people have relocated, with over 300 homes destroyed in Sichuan and nearby Yunnan. Hundreds of Southwestern China’s residents are killed annually by landslides, and the soil erosion conditions in this area are only worsening. Already, more than 81,000 acres of crops have been affected by the extreme rain, while economic losses have toppled over $40 million. Heavy rain is expected to continue through Friday and may contribute to intensifying flood conditions.
The tropical system named Soulik nearing the Philippines has been classified as an intensifying Typhoon. At 1500 UTC (11 am EDT) today, the eye of the storm was located about 678 nautical miles east-southeast of Kadena Air Base in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Winds have quickly risen to 95 knots (109 mph/175 kph), with gusts up to 115 knots (135 mph/215 kph). Soulik is expected to strengthen throughout this week as it continues on its west-northwest path.
Models predict the storm will reach Category 4 Saffir-Simpson wind scale conditions Thursday or Friday. Extreme winds and flooding rain are expected to hit The Philippines, Taiwan, and portions along the eastern portion of south-central China by Thursday and into Friday. Fujian and Zhejiang would be the main regions of China affected, with Shanghai only slightly north. High gusts and extreme rain from Soulik early this weekend would have a devastating impact on these densely populated areas.