TAIPEI • Typhoon Dujuan battered Taiwan with torrential rain and fierce winds as it made landfall on the north-eastern tip of the island yesterday evening, disrupting trains and flights and forcing rock band Bon Jovi to cancel a concert in the island's capital of Taipei.
Dujuan hit the island's north-eastern tip earlier than expected after picking up speed as it approached, with more than 7,000 people evacuated in advance.
The Taiwanese authorities said tens of thousands of homes were without power in the north.
By mid-afternoon, the island's trains had stopped services, while more than 600 international and domestic flights were cancelled. Ferry services to outlying islands were also suspended.
Waves crashed along the east coast and Taipei was swept with wind and rain, but there were no immediate reports of injury.
"(The typhoon) picked up speed in the past few hours, but will slow somewhat after hitting the mountains in the east," an official from the Central Weather Bureau said.
Dujuan made landfall in the northern county of Yilan, where some areas have seen more than 500mm of rain in the last 24 hours.
More than 24,000 troops are on stand by for disaster relief and evacuations, with 100 shelters set up. Emergency response centres have also been established in the north and east.
The authorities warned that the coastal areas, in particular, could be in danger, as tides are affected by the current "supermoon" - a rare astrological event in which the moon appears brighter and larger. This is a result of the moon reaching its closest orbital point to earth, and it therefore has a stronger gravitational pull than usual.
Dujuan was graded a "strong typhoon" - the top category - by Taiwan's weather bureau, while other regional forecasters, including the Hong Kong Observatory, categorised it as a "super typhoon".
China issued a red alert, its highest, for Dujuan, which is expected to hit the mainland today. Heavy rain and gales are set to hit parts of Fujian, Zhejiang and Shanghai, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Centre as saying.
The centre instructed crews of ships to return to harbour and advised people to stay indoors.
The Tropical Storm Risk website projected that Dujuan would lose strength today.
AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE, REUTERS, BLOOMBERG