Taiwan and mainland China are bracing for massive Super Typhoon Meranti, which was bearing down on southern Taiwan on early Wednesday morning, bringing torrential rains and damaging winds.
After a period of rapid intensification on Monday and Tuesday, which saw Meranti grow from a Category 1 equivalent storm to that of a top-scale Category 5 in only 24 hours, the super typhoon has maintained winds of 185 mph (295 kph) and gusts up to 225 mph (360 kph) for nearly 24 hours, CNN reported.
With current gusts of up to 230 mph, Meranti is the strongest typhoon since Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in 2013 and is the strongest storm to come this close to Taiwan since 1959.
The storm is nearing the southern tip of Taiwan, and though its eye may pass a few miles south of the island, dangerous typhoon-force winds greater than 74 mph (120 kph) extend nearly 80 miles (125 km), and will cover much of Southern Taiwan.
From there the storm will track through towards the northwest and move into mainland China.