BEIJING - TORRENTIAL rain and gale-force winds lashed southern China on Saturday as Typhoon Megi made landfall after killing at least 47 people as it roared through the Philippines and battered Taiwan.

State television broadcast images of strong winds bending trees double in the south-eastern province of Fujian, where billboards had toppled down and large waves whipped the coast.

Roads in the city of Zhangzhou, which lies in the path of the typhoon, were seen flooded by torrential rain. China's national meteorological centre confirmed that the typhoon had reached the Asian nation's coast and advised people to avoid going out.

'If you are already outside, do not shelter from the rain near temporary structures, billboards, iron masts and trees,' it said in a statement.

Megi has already wreaked havoc in the Philippines, where it left 36 people dead, and in Taiwan, where rescuers are still searching for two dozen missing people. At least 11 people there died in storm-triggered mud and landslides.

Authorities in southern China have cut ferry services and at least 160,000 people have been evacuated in anticipation of Megi - one of the strongest storms to hit the region in years. Weather authorities said the typhoon was expected to keep moving inland, where it would gradually weaken.

Deadly typhoon hits China