At least 55 injured as Typhoon Saola makes landfall in China

More than 50 people are injured and hundreds are seeking shelter after Typhoon Saola made landfall in China’s Guangdong province early Saturday morning. Photo by Liang Xu/EPA-EFE

Sept. 2 (UPI) -- More than 50 people are injured and hundreds are seeking shelter after Typhoon Saola made landfall in China's Guangdong province early Saturday morning.

Officials have yet to confirm any deaths but said upwards of 500 people were forced out of their homes by the weakening storm, and into temporary shelters.

Several injured people were being treated in local hospitals in the coastal province in southeast China.

Several cities in the region were under the highest alert status Friday evening, canceling flights and shutting down schools and businesses.

The typhoon left flooding and major damage in the large port city of Shenzhen as well as nearby Hong Kong and Macao.

With sustained wind speeds of 140 mph, the typhoon is one of the most powerful storms ever to slam into the region, according to China's National Meteorological Center.

During one point Friday, Saola's wind speeds reached 150 mph, which would have made it a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, which is used to measure the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes.

Typhoon Saola is now the strongest storm since 1949 to hit the area, the Chinese weather service said Friday.

The storm weakened Saturday with Guangdong Province downgrading its response level.

The city of Shenzhen lifted closures of schools, construction projects, and public transportation.

"Tropical Storm Saola has weakened into a tropical depression," the Hong Kong Observatory said in its most recent update.

"(The storm) is forecast to move west-southwest at about 12 kilometers per hour across the coast of western Guangdong and continue to weaken. There will still be swells. Members of the public are advised to stay away from the shoreline, and not to engage in water sports."

Another Pacific storm, Typhoon Haikui, is expected to make landfall in eastern China Sunday.