TAIPEI • Almost 3,000 people, most of them tourists, were evacuated from outlying islands off Taiwan yesterday as Typhoon Dujuan gathered strength as it neared shore, looking set to bring heavy rain and high tides.
Typhoon Dujuan, packing maximum winds of up to 210kmh, was 560km south-east of Hualien county at 2.30pm, and around 350km from the Japanese island of Ishigaki.
"It's at the upper limit of a moderate storm, and we do not rule out that it gets stronger," said a spokesman for Taiwan's weather bureau.
Ferry operators increased trips to move people from Green Island and Orchid Island, popular with tourists, and services would be suspended later yesterday.
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 gaze at the moon.
Dujuan is set to hit Ishigaki at around midday today, and make landfall in Taiwan later the same evening.
The storm is on course to hit mainland China from tomorrow, 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", said an Ishigaki official.
At least three flights were cancelled, Japanese news reports and airline officials said.
The country's meteorological agency has warned of possible landslides, high waves and heavy rain.