Taipei: As super typhoon Dujuan is rushing towards Taiwan to wreck havoc, more than 7000 people left their homes towards a safer place on Monday. The typhoon is gradually gaining severity as it nears the east coast.
Torrential rains and high winds are forecast across Taiwan from Monday afternoon, with an earlier landfall now predicted — around 0900 to 1000 GMT — as the storm speeds up.
Crashing waves were already battering the northeastern coast by midday and fishing boats have been called back to shore.
Panicked visitors to the island’s east — many of whom had headed there for the Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend — crammed onto trains away from the coast before rail services there were suspended.
High-speed rail services in the west were also cancelled.
Authorities have warned that coastal areas could be particularly dangerous as tides are affected by the current “supermoon” — a rare astrological event in which the moon appears brighter and larger.
This is because the moon has reached its closest orbital point to Earth and therefore has a stronger gravitational pull than usual.
The storm intensified as it approached Taiwan, with gusts of 227 kilometres (141 miles) per hour.
Taiwan’s weather bureau upgraded Dujuan to a “strong typhoon” Sunday, while other regional weather bureaus, including the Hong Kong Observatory, categorise it as a “super typhoon”.
“The whole of the island should heighten vigilance against severe winds and torrential rains,” a spokesman for Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said.
Almost 3,000 people were evacuated Sunday from Taiwan’s Green Island and Orchid Island — popular with visitors.
More than 4,000 were moved Monday ahead of the storm.
New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu said they were from vulnerable areas, including the hot spring town of Wulai, just outside Taipei.