The Washington Post
Date: August 3, 2015
By: Angela Fritz
After blasting the Pacific island of Saipan with wind gusts close to 100 mph, Super
Typhoon Soudelor is taking aim at Taiwan and China, now the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane with wind speeds of 178 mph, and the strongest tropical cyclone yet in 2015.
The powerful cyclone was tiny in size as it crossed Saipan, population 48,000 in the Northern Mariana Islands. The eye of Soudelor was just four miles wide as it made landfall as a category 2 with sustained winds of 105 mph. Weather Underground’s Bob Hensen says that Soudelor was “among the smallest eyes and eyewalls observed anywhere as a tropical cyclone was making landfall.” But given its small size, satellite imagery may not have been sufficient to convey just how strong the typhoon was as it passed over Saipan.
With 350 people in shelters, Saipan has declared a “state of disaster and significant emergency,” reports the Pacific Daily News. “In just about three hours, Typhoon Soudelor—named after a legendary Pohnpeian chief—left behind a devastated wasteland of wrecked homes, fallen electric posts, uprooted trees, vegetation shorn of their leaves, and impassable roadways,” reports the Saipan Tribune. “There were no reports, however, of fatalities.” [FULL STORY]