Typhoon threatens China after 8 dead, missing in Taiwan

Behind fallen trees, a man braves the strong winds from Typhoon Soudelor with his bicycle in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. Soudelor is bringing heavy rains and strong winds to the island Saturday with winds speeds over 170 kph (100 mph) and gusts over 200 kph (120 mph), according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Typhoon Soudelor barreled toward mainland China on Saturday after downing trees, traffic lights and power lines in Taiwan, where at least four were killed, four are missing and dozens injured.

A total of 64 people have been hurt in Taiwan and almost 2 million households are without electricity as the powerful storm left streets strewn with fallen trees.

An 8-year-girl and her mother died when they were swept out to sea Thursday from a beach on the east coast, the official Central News Agency reported. The girl’s twin sister remains missing.

Other casualties included a firefighter who was killed and another injured after being hit by a drunken driver as they attempted to move a fallen tree in the island’s south.

The center of the storm made landfall in eastern Taiwan at 4:40 a.m. Saturday.

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said that by mid-morning Saturday, Soudelor was packing maximum sustained winds of 162 kilometers (100 miles) per hour.

It was moving away from the island in a northwesterly direction Saturday afternoon, and weakened with top winds of up to 144 kph (89 mph).

Strong winds and heavy rains were still expected to continue in Taiwan.

Authorities in southeast China ordered the evacuation of about 158,000 people and ships back to port ahead of the typhoon, which was expected to hit Fujian province on Saturday night.

On Friday afternoon, marine police rescued 55 university students and teachers trapped on a small island where they had been attending a summer camp, after strong gales stopped ferry services, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

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