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Fourth echelon

Soudelor now strongest typhoon of the year

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Super Typhoon Soudelor intensified into the strongest storm of 2015 on Monday after causing flooding and destruction on the island of Saipan overnight, weather officials said.

As of 5 p.m. local time Monday, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said Soudelor had strengthened into the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, featuring maximum sustained winds of 180 mph and gusts up to 220 mph, The Weather Channel reported. To qualify as a super typhoon, a storm must feature winds of at least 150 mph.

The super typhoon is expected to travel west-northwest, bringing it near Japan's southwest Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and eastern China on Friday. The Weather Channel report said the storm should weaken by time it hits land there, though it will still be strong. As of Monday morning the storm was moving 13.8 mph, NASA said.



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