Described as the strongest storm in the world so far this year, Super Typhoon Meranti has hit Taiwan, bringing strong winds, torrential rain and flooding.
Schools and businesses have been closed and flights have been cancelled.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau warned that the Category 5 storm would hit several southern and eastern cities, including Kaohsiung and Hualien.
Local media said hundreds of thousands of homes lost power across the island on Wednesday, as winds of up to 216 kilometres an hour brought down cables and trees.
“The typhoon is the world’s strongest so far this year,” weather bureau spokeswoman Hsieh Pei-yun said. “its impact on Taiwan will peak all day today.”
The typhoon grew in strength as it swept in. The full force is expected to be felt into Thursday as well before the storm moves on into southern Chinese provinces.
There, official media say it could be the strongest in the area since 1969. Plans are underway to suspend transport services and evacuate people.
Meranti comes barely two months after another typhoon caused disruption in Taiwan.
In 2009 Typhoon Morakot brought severe destruction through southern areas, killing around 700 people.