Typhoon Damrey, described as the strongest storm to hit the area in 30 years, roared across China’s Hainan Island earlier today. According to news reports at least two people were killed and some 170,000 were forced to evacuate low-lying areas.
Damrey is packing winds of 125 mph (200 kph), making it equivalent in strength to Hurricane Katrina when it came ashore on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Hainan, a popular tourist destination, is located off China’s Southern Coast to the east of Vietnam between the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea. Damrey is reportedly heading due west towards the Vietnamese mainland and is expected to come ashore early Tuesday morning. On that track it would hit the Haiphong-Hanoi region, one of the country’s most densely populated areas.
Authorities are preparing for the worst, as the storm’s intensity is not expected to decrease significantly before it makes landfall. At least 100,000 coastal residents have been ordered to evacuate. Not only is there danger from the high winds, but also from torrential rains that could trigger floods and landslides.
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