TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Island communities are being battered today by the most powerful typhoon of the year now lashing parts of Taiwan and the Philippines as it sweeps through the Luzon Strait separating the countries.

Super Typhoon Usagi has maximum sustained winds of 139 mph and gusts exceeding 163 mph.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau says that Usagi is veering west, likely sparing southern Taiwan from the most destructive winds near its eye.

In the Philippines, Usagi triggered landslides and power outages in parts of the north of the country, where it made landfall early Saturday. No casualties have been reported.

China's National Meteorological Center announced a red alert, its highest level, as the storm maintained its track toward Hong Kong and the manufacturing heartland of the Pearl River Delta.