TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Typhoon Haikui made landfall in Taiwan at approximately 3:40 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 3) in the area of Taitung’s Donghe Township, a few hours earlier than first expected.
Haikui’s landfall in Taiwan marks the first typhoon to directly strike Taiwan in 1,472 days. Powerful winds, uprooted trees, and downed power lines have been reported in multiple locations along Taiwan’s east coast as well as on Green Island.
Earlier on Sunday, thousands of residents in at-risk areas of Hualien and Taitung Counties were evacuated from their homes, reported AFP.
Average wind gusts are expected to have an intensity level of 9 or 10. However, on Green Island, winds with an intensity level of 16 have been recorded. Video was shared online of a wooden two-story bed and breakfast showing the roof and top floor entirely stripped away by the incredible winds. Much of Green Island is currently without power, per reports.
A damaged bed and breakfast on Green Island. (CNA photo)
To minimize risk to drivers along the east coast, the Directorate General of Highways announced road closures for multiple portions of Provincial Highway No.9 stretching from Yilan to Hulien, effective from 5:00 p.m., reported UDN.
At 11 a.m. in Hualien’s Zhouxi Township, winds from Haikui caused a large tree to be uprooted, and to fall onto a passing truck, trapping a 45-year-old father and 22-year-old son in the crushed vehicle. Fortunately, they suffered only minor injuries and firefighters were able to free them and clear the road by 11:30 a.m., per UDN.
The truck was crushed by a fallen tree in Hualien's Zhouxi around 11 a.m. Sunday morning. (CNA photo)
In northern Taitung, shortly after 2 p.m., strong winds downed a major powerline in Changbin Township, which resulted in over 4,000 homes losing power hours before Haikui made landfall. In nearby Chenggong and Chishang Townships, more than 1,000 residences were also without power, reported UDN.
People are warned to avoid going outside during the typhoon. There is an especially high likelihood of landslides in mountainous areas, so people are advised to avoid traveling on mountain roads.
Reports indicate that Typhoon Haikui’s impact will be strongest Sunday evening. The storm is expected to weaken slightly as the eye moves over the central mountain range, but strong winds and rain are expected to persist in southern Taiwan throughout Monday (Sept. 4) as Haikui makes its way towards the Taiwan Strait, where it may weaken to a tropical depression, per LTN.
Trees have already been downed in Taichung as a result of Typhoon Haikui's powerful winds. (CNA photo)