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Super Typhoon Saomai Slams into China's Zhejiang Province


Chinese authorities say Super Typhoon Saomai has slammed into the coast of eastern China, killing at least two people. They say it is the most powerful storm to hit the country in decades.

China's official Xinhua News Agency says Saomai made landfall Thursday, about 5:30 p.m., local time, near the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, with maximum wind speeds up to 216 kilometers an hour. Forecasters say the storm will move further inland, traveling northwest at about 20 kilometers an hour.

Two people were reported dead in the city of Fuding in Fujian province, but there were no details. At least 12 people are missing at sea after two Taiwanese boats sank in a Fujian harbor.

Authorities have evacuated 1.3 million people from coastal regions.

Earlier Thursday, Saomai skirted the northern coast of Taiwan, but the island escaped the brunt of the storm and no serious damage or casualties were reported. Some domestic and international flights were canceled.

Saomai is battering some of the same areas of eastern China devastated last month by Typhoon Bilis, which killed more than 600 people. Xinhua reports Saomai is the eighth powerful storm to affect China this typhoon season.

Meanwhile, a less powerful storm, Tropical Depression Bopha, is lurking off the coast of China's Guangdong province. The storm crossed over southern Taiwan Wednesday, but did not cause major damage.

Bopha was located about 210 kilometers east-southeast of Hong Kong at six p.m. local time (1000 UTC). It was forecast to move west or west-southwest at about 15 kilometers an hour across the coastal waters of Guangdong.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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