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Super Typhoon Usagi Batters Taiwan, Philippines

A woman and her child hold their umbrellas tight against powerful gusts of wind as Typhoon Usagi approaches in Taipei, Taiwan, Sept. 21, 2013.
Super Typhoon Usagi, the Pacific's most powerful storm this year, is bringing strong winds and heavy rains to the northern Philippines and Taiwan.

The massive storm was sweeping through the Luzon Strait on Saturday, with sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour and wind gusts up to 250 kilometers per hour.

The center of the storm passed over the Philippines' Batanes islands, destroying crops, downing trees and cutting off electricity. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

In Taiwan, authorities canceled flights and closed schools and offices ahead of the storm, which is expected to particularly threaten the island's south and east coasts with torrential rain and possible mudslides.

Usagi, which has a diameter of 1,100 kilometers, is expected to weaken before making a direct hit on Hong Kong and the southern coast of China, which has issued a red alert, its highest warning.

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