TAIPEI, Taiwan, Aug. 6 (UPI) — Typhoon Souldelor, despite reduced strength, is on course to strike Taiwan and mainland China by Friday with winds of up to 135 mph.
Winds peaked at 180 mph Monday, with gusts of up to 220 mph, making it the strongest typhoon of 2015, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said. Earlier this week it hit Saipan, the most populated area of the U.S. Northern Marianas islands, and while damage estimates remain incomplete, water and electricity were lost and gasoline was rationed. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sabian, the commonwealth’s U.S. Congress representative, reported it could take a month to restore power to the islands.
Souldelor is expected to strengthen before it makes landfall and will likely be a Category 3 or Category 4 storm by that time. Current indications are for the storm to center over the island of Taiwan by early Saturday morning, before moving to mainland China Saturday night.
It is the 10th observed typhoon in the Pacific Ocean in 2015.