Taiwan shuts down as Typhoon Megi strikes the island – the third typhoon in two weeks
Taiwan went into shutdown on Tuesday as the island faces its third typhoon in two weeks, with thousands of people evacuated, schools and offices closed across the island and hundreds of flights disrupted.
Typhoon Megi, which was expected to make landfall in eastern Taiwan early on Tuesday afternoon, brought widespread violent winds and torrential rain as it approached the island.
More than 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and about 2,000 are now in shelters, according to the Central Emergency Operation Centre.
More than 650,000 households have lost power due to the typhoon so far.
A total of 575 international and domestic flights were cancelled as of Tuesday morning, and 109 delayed. Most trains were also halted.
Billboards and scaffolding have been torn down by the powerful winds, and television footage showed waves surging past breakwaters in northeastern Yilan county and outlying Orchid Island.
Megi was packing gusts of up to 198km/h as it came to within 90km east-southeast of the eastern county of Hualien. It is moving at up to 14km an hour.
Taiwan’s weather bureau were forecasting it reaching landfall near Hualien city at between 2pm and 3pm Hong Kong time.
Hualien and Taitung, which are also popular with visitors for their coastlines and landscapes, will be in the firing line.
Those areas are still trying to recover from damage brought by Super Typhoon Meranti earlier this month – the strongest storm for 21 years to hit Taiwan.
Meranti, which left one dead in Taiwan before killing another 28 as it moved to eastern China, was followed closely by the smaller Typhoon Malakas.
Mountainous regions in eastern Taiwan could see a total of up to 900 millimetres of rain through Wednesday, increasing the risk of landslides.
More than 35,000 soldiers are on stand-by to help with disaster relief.