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Super Typhoon Meranti roars toward China
02:19 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Super Typhoon Meranti is passing the southern tip of Taiwan

It's the strongest typhoon since Haiyan devastated the Philippines in 2013

NEW: China on red alert as Meranti expected to make landfall there Thursday

Hong Kong CNN  — 

Hundreds of people have been evacuated in southern Taiwan and China has issued a red alert as the region braces for the impact of the strongest storm of the year.

Super Typhoon Meranti is barreling down on Taiwan, bringing wind speeds of up to 230 miles per hour (370 kph), faster than a Formula One race car, and torrential rains.

Schools and offices across the south of the island have closed and dozens of flights have been canceled, according to the official China News Agency.

Two people have been injured, and more than 260,000 households have lost power in counties across southern Taiwan, according to Taiwan authorities.

More than 370 domestic and international flights have been canceled and train services have also been suspended.

As of 7 a.m. local time Wednesday morning, around 1,500 people had been evacuated from the affected areas, Li Wei-sen, of the Taiwan Central Emergency Operating Center, told CNN.

Almost 4,000 military and police personnel have been deployed to the region to prepare for potential future evacuations, but he said authorities are not expecting major damage or destruction.

China braces for impact

While the 23 million people in Taiwan are likely to be buffeted and soaked by Meranti, the main brunt of the storm will fall on mainland China. The storm is expected to make landfall in Guangdong or Fujian provinces during the day on Thursday.

Authorities in six south-eastern provinces as well as Shanghai have initiated emergency response measures as the storm approaches,