TAIPEI, Taiwan – Typhoon Sinlaku slammed into Taiwan with heavy rain and strong winds Sunday, killing one person and flooding low-lying regions, causing landslides that blocked traffic, and delaying international flights, officials said. Two other people were missing.
Sinlaku made landfall in coastal Ilan county in northeastern Taiwan at 1:30 a.m. but quickly turned and headed back out to sea, the Central Weather Bureau said.
After spiraling off Taiwan's northeastern coast for several hours, it gradually roared northeast toward Japan but its outer bands were likely to continue to affect Taiwan and eastern China, the bureau said.
A car skidded and crashed into a road railing, killing its driver, and a utility company electrician and a farmer were washed away by rampaging waters in two central counties, the Disaster Relief Center said.
Several mountainous regions recorded more than 40 inches of rain in the past two days, and a few large rivers overflowed their banks, forcing authorities to evacuate hundreds of people, it said.
Many international flights were delayed for hours and Taipei's international airport was jammed with waiting passengers, airport authorities said.
Domestic flights were canceled, trains stopped running and several mountain highways were blocked by landslides, according to the Disaster Relief Center.
The main Taipei-Ilan highway was blocked after torrential rains caused a 100-foot-wide cave-in along a mountainous section, the center said.
More than 1,000 people were evacuated overnight from low-lying areas in two counties in the north, and 14 people were injured, mostly by falling objects, it said.
As the storm moved away from eastern Taiwan, authorities began to restore rail traffic, allowing people to resume plans to visit their families for Sunday's traditional moon festival.
Television footage showed traffic jams in Ilan's flooded streets, which were littered with fallen billboards and uprooted trees. Power was cut in 120,000 households in the county, the reports said.
As of Sunday afternoon, Sinlaku was centered at sea about 37 miles off Keelung at the northern tip of Taiwan, packing winds of 78 miles per hour, the Central Weather Bureau said.
In eastern China, more than 170,000 people were evacuated from their homes in low-lying areas of Fujian and Zhejiang provinces, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency.
China's weather observatory issued a second-degree disaster weather warning, forecasting winds close to hurricane force and heavy rains in coastal areas, Xinhua said.
Authorities in Zhejiang called nearly 30,000 fishing boats to shore, it said.
Sinlaku is the third typhoon to hit Taiwan this year.