Taiwan evacuates 3,000, issues sea warning as Typhoon Dujuan approaches from the east

An image from the Central Weather Bureau shows Typhoon Dujuan approach Taiwan's east coast from the Pacific Ocean on Sept 27, 2015.
An image from the Central Weather Bureau shows Typhoon Dujuan approach Taiwan's east coast from the Pacific Ocean on Sept 27, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

TAIPEI (AFP/Bloomberg) - Almost 3,000 people, most of them tourists, were evacuated from outlying islands off Taiwan on Sunday (Sept 27) as Typhoon Dujuan gathered strength as it neared, looking set to bring heavy rains and high tides.

Typhoon Dujuan, packing maximum winds of up to 209 kmh, was 560km south-east of Hualien county at 2.30pm local time, and lay around 350km from the Japanese island of Ishigaki. It was expected to be 210km east of Hualien at 11am on Monday.

The island also issued a sea warning early on Sunday (Sept 27) as the typhoon approached from the Pacific Ocean to the East.

"It's at the upper limit of a moderate storm, and we do not rule out that it gets stronger," a spokesman from Taiwan's weather bureau told AFP.

Ferry operators increased trips to move people from Green Island and Orchid Island, popular with tourists, and services will be suspended later Sunday.

A total of nearly 3,000 people were being evacuated from the two islands, the local tourism bureau said.

The storm threatens long-weekend plans for many as Taiwan celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival, when families typically gather and moon-gaze.

Dujuan is set to hit Ishigaki at around midday on Monday, and make landfall in Taiwan later the same evening. The storm is on course to hit mainland China from Tuesday after moving through Taiwan.

Japan's meteorological agency has warned it could trigger waves 13m high when it strikes the country.

So far there have been no reports of damage or injuries in connection with the typhoon, but "winds are getting stronger now", an Ishigaki official told AFP by phone.

At least three flights were cancelled, Japanese news reports and airline officials said, and the country's meteorological agency warned of possible landslides, high waves and heavy rain.