HONG KONG — A powerful typhoon killed at least two people and injured 72 others on Friday as it crossed Taiwan on its way toward the Chinese mainland, the authorities said.
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.
At least two people were reported to have been killed, the National Fire Agency, which is Taiwan’s general disaster response agency, said on Friday. Many of those injured were hit by falling objects as wind gusts reached 140 miles per hour, the agency said.
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.
Trading on Taiwan’s financial markets was suspended Friday. Train and bus operators suspended some services, and dozens of flights were canceled.
By afternoon, Tropical Storm Risk had downgraded Nepartak to a Category 2 storm as it headed toward the Chinese mainland. 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 two million people and destroyed 73,000 buildings, the ministry estimated.