Super Typhoon Meranti is roaring its way across the southern section of the island of Taiwan and is heading towards mainland China, with wind gusts in excess of 350 km/h and waves of 14 metres or higher.
It is the world's strongest storm since Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed more than 6,300 people in the Philippines.
The Category 5 typhoon has injured five people and left more than half a million homes without power in Taiwan, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
A typhoon is the Asian term for storms which are called hurricanes in the Americas, or cyclones in Australia. They are huge, devastating tropical weather systems which rotate around a calm, windless eye -- and Meranti is bigger than most.
Meranti currently reaches some 3,000 kilometres from southern Japan to the northern Philippines, and is rated a Category 5 -- the strongest category. It is expected to downgrade to a Cat. 4 by the time it hits mainland China, but will still pack an extremely destructive punch.
Taiwan has already experienced widespread damage.
Here's part of what Australia's Bureau of Meteorology says about Category 4 cyclones:
"Significant roofing loss and structural damage. Dangerous airborne debris. Widespread power failures. A Category 4 cyclone's strongest winds are VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds with typical gusts over open flat land of 225 - 279 km/h."
When a government body uses caps for emphasis, you know they're serious.
Meanwhile, grave fears are held for residents of the small Philippine island of Itbayat, which lies well north of the main Philippine archipelago, and is in fact closer to Taiwan than the main part of the Philippines. Here's a dramatic picture showing the eye of the storm directly over Itbayat.
In eye of supertyphoon Merati? That's Filipino island of Itbayat, w/3k residents. As scary a pic as I've ever seen pic.twitter.com/dXk65kdbZb— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) 13 de setembro de 2016
Due to the intensity of the storm, it is not yet known how the 3,000 of the tiny island have faired.Suggest a correction