Typhoon Blasts China, Kills 115

The death toll from Typhoon Rananim rose to 115 late Friday, after the most powerful storm of the season slammed into the China's southeastern coast, state television reported.

Another 16 people were missing in Zhejiang province (search), south of Shanghai, where the storm roared ashore late Thursday with winds of more than 160 kph (100 mph), China Central Television said.

The storm injured more than 1,800 people and knocked down thousands of homes, various state media reported.

Rananim weakened to a tropical storm on Friday as it moved west into inland Jiangxi province, bringing heavy rain to China's central lakes region.

More than 42,000 houses were destroyed and tens of thousands more damaged, the official Xinhua News Agency (searchsaid.

Rananim was the most powerful typhoon to strike China since 1997, the newspaper Qianjiang Evening News said on its Web site.

Authorities reportedly had evacuated 410,000 people from the storm's path, many from rural villages where Xinhua said raging wind and rain destroyed huge swathes of cropland and killed thousands of livestock.

Power in the major city of Taizhou was knocked out and millions of people lost water and phone service, news reports said.

Rananim hit the coastal Chinese city of Wenling at 8 p.m. (1200 GMT) on Thursday after killing one person in Taiwan. Wenling is about 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of Shanghai.

The Shihmen Reservoir (search), Taiwan's biggest reservoir, opened its floodgates to let off excess water, and authorities urged residents downstream to evacuate when necessary.

On the mainland, high winds and torrential rains were expected as far as 250 kilometers (150 miles) away in the provinces of Fujian to the south and Anhui to the northwest, Xinhua said.

The storm also is expected to help relieve a drought and heat wave affecting much of eastern China.

Rananim means "hello" in the Chuukese language spoken in Micronesia.

The storm's fringe brushed over Taiwan's northeastern tip on Thursday, killing a road worker and bringing heavy rains and strong winds that uprooted trees and flooded streets.

The port city of Keelung called off work and school while shops and houses were piled high with sandbags to fend off floodwaters. The storm uprooted trees in the city.