Typhoon Kills Five before Weakening over China

September 2, 2005 Updated: September 2, 2005

BEIJING — Typhoon Talim killed five people as it swept across Taiwan and China&#039s eastern coast and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, state media said on Friday.

A father and son were killed on Thursday when their house collapsed in Fuzhou, capital of China&#039s Fujian province, before the center of the storm reached the mainland, Xinhua news agency said.

In hard-hit Taiwan, the death toll had risen to three with 59 people injured, according to the island&#039s National Fire Administration&#039s disaster response center.

As of late Thursday, more than 780,000 homes in Taiwan were without power and 48,000 had no access to clean water.

Chinese authorities bracing for the storm had evacuated nearly 500,000 people to safety, the China Daily said.

Fujian authorities also shut schools and airports, closed sections of highway and suspended ferry services to ride out the storm, the newspaper said.

The storm, which kicked up waves as high as 10 meters (33 feet) off Fujian, was predicted to plow north up the coast and pelt Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Jiangsu provinces as well as booming Shanghai.

Typhoons frequently menace Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong and southern China during the storm season that lasts from early summer to late autumn.

A powerful typhoon churning toward Japan&#039s Okinawa islands strengthened by Friday to a Class Five storm—technically the same strength as Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans—and experts said it could also threaten Japan&#039s southernmost main island.

Typhoon Nabi—Korean for “butterfly”—had increased in power to super-typhoon status, the Tropical Storm Risk group at University College London said on its Web site, www.tropicalstormrisk.com.

Additional reporting by Tiffany Wu in Taipei