Typhoon Haikui, the first major storm to directly hit Taiwan in four years, made landfall in eastern Taiwan, bringing heavy rains, strong winds, and widespread power outages. The storm’s arrival prompted the evacuation of nearly 4,000 people from high-risk areas, the cancellation of hundreds of flights, and the closure of businesses across the island.

Typhoon Haikui: More than 4,000 People were Evacuated

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The Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan confirmed that Typhoon Haikui made landfall in coastal Taitung, a mountainous county in lesser-populated eastern Taiwan. The storm’s strong breezes made trees overturn and sent water tanks flying through the air. Numerous occupants dug in inside to remain safe.

Starting around Sunday evening, Typhoon Haikui had sustained winds of about 154km/h (95mph). The weather bureau warned that the most intense rain and wind would occur after landfall and that the typhoon was expected to move into the Taiwan strait by Monday evening.

The effect of Typhoon Haikui was felt across the island as over 21,000 homes lost power. Although most of the power was restored by mid-afternoon, approximately 9,000 homes remained without electricity, including some in Taitung.

Authorities likewise revealed two minor injuries in Hualien county, a mountainous region that was under a flash flood warning. A fallen tree had struck a car, causing the injuries.

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This typhoon, the first to cross the central Mountain Range in four years, raised worries about potential landslides in surrounding counties.

President Tsai Ing-wen urged residents to make preparations for the typhoon’s impact and to prioritize safety, avoiding dangerous activities and going outside during the storm.

Before Typhoon Haikui’s arrival, residents in Taitung witnessed uprooted trees and swaying street signs due to strong winds. Businesses took precautions, securing signposts and making necessary preparations for the impending storm.

The military additionally activated warriors and equipment, including amphibious vehicles and inflatable rubber boats, in areas expected to be heavily affected.

In spite of the storm’s seriousness, it was expected to be less extreme than Typhoon Saola, which had triggered the highest threat level in nearby Hong Kong and southern China before weakening into a tropical storm by Saturday.

Typhoon Haikui disrupted transportation across Taiwan. Domestic flights were canceled, affecting thousands of travelers, while ferry services to offshore islands were also suspended. In total, 246 flights were delayed or canceled, primarily on domestic and regional routes.

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In neighboring Hong Kong, Typhoon Saola had caused significant disruption, with numerous injuries reported and hundreds of canceled flights.

As the Typhoon drew nearer, several counties and cities in southern and eastern Taiwan suspended school and work for the day, prioritizing safety.

Yunlin county and the outlying Penghu county planned to suspend school and work from noon, and additional cities across the island announced closures for Monday.

Taiwan carried out broad precautionary measures as Storm Haikui drew nearer, including evacuations and canceling domestic flights. The typhoon was forecasted to make landfall in the remote and sparsely populated southeastern part of Taiwan, known for its mountainous terrain.

After passing over Taiwan, Typhoon Haikui was expected to cross the Taiwan Strait and head toward China. Authorities in the Chinese city of Shantou in Guangdong province advised residents to take precautions in preparation for the storm’s arrival.

Regardless of the difficult weather conditions, China kept on directing military tasks close to Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy that China seeks to bring under its sovereignty, even through force if necessary.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry monitored the movements of Chinese military aircraft and navy ships but reported no violations of the median line in the Taiwan Strait or entry into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

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