An immense Super Typhoon is on a collision course with Japan, China and Taiwan after devastating a group of tiny islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Super Typhoon Soudelor thrashed into the Northern Maria Islands on Sunday, when winds of up to 105mph ripped the roofs off houses and 30ft-high waves flooded the main power plant.
It has since grown into the most powerful storm in the world this year with winds of up to 220mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
It says Soudelor is even stronger than Cyclone Pam which killed 15 people when it slammed into Vanuatu five months ago - and will reach southern Japan by Thursday.
The acting governor of the Northern Marianas declared a ‘state of major disaster and significant emergency’ when it first struck on Sunday.
Nearly 400 people crammed themselves into emergency shelters as Soudelor destroyed their homes and left them without power, water and waste services.
‘I have seen multiple primary power poles down… I’ve seen cars flipped over the road… I’ve seen lots of torn roofs,’ said the executive director of the American Red Cross from the capital Saipan.
The typhoon’s destructive power peaked between 11pm on Sunday and 1am on Monday when it felt like the island took ‘a direct hit’, John Hirsch added.
The typhoon ruined many of the roads on Saipan, the Northern Marianas main island, and destroyed three ships which were moored up in the harbour.
‘The winds her got pretty intense,’ local resident Jacquelyn Belk told the Pacific Daily News website via email.
She added: ‘The wind busted out my bedroom window and flooded the room… I was terrified that my shutters would break my sliding doors. That’s how strong the winds were last night [Sunday].’
When she drove through the town yesterday, once the storm had passed, she saw ‘power lines down everywhere’ and ‘trees blocking roads’.
She said: 'Driving around was like a maze just trying to weave around fallen trees… I saw people’s homes that didn’t have roofs and houses that were caved in.
‘There were damage to people’s cars… Looking around was a disbelief that a storm could cause so much damage.’
At least ten people were injured by ‘falling debris’ and treated for their cuts and wounds at the Commonwealth Health Center in Saipan, according to the Pacific Daily News website.
The hospital’s preparedness response coordinator, Cora Ada, said the injuries were not critical - and no deaths have yet been recorded.
On neighbouring Guam, the weather service warned boats to stay away from exposed reefs and beaches because of ‘hazardous surf’ and ‘life-threatening’ currents.
It said Soudelor will continue to intensify over the next 24 hours as it sweeps across open water, but it should begin to slow down after than.
Typhoon Soudelor is expected to weaken to a category three or four storm by the time it reaches southern Japan, Taiwan and China on late Thursday.
Tropical typhoons and cyclones typically form in the western Pacific between May and October with Pam the most destructive so far this year.
In addition to the fatalities in Vanuatu, about 75,000 people needed emergency shelter after their homes were destroyed and almost all food crops were wiped out.
Typhoon Maysak slammed into the Federated States of Micronesia in late March killing at least four people and leaving more than 5,000 in need of food, shelter and other emergency assistance.