Super typhoon Nepartak slammed into the east coast of Taiwan on Friday morning, overturning cars, forcing thousands from their homes and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Taiwan's first major tropical storm of the season made landfall at about 5.50am in the eastern county of Taitung with winds of 234km/h (145mph) reportedly lashing the region. Taiwan's central weather bureau said it expected the storm to linger over the country for up to eight hours and warned citizens to prepare for heavy downpours.
More than 35,000 soldiers have been put on standby to help with evacuations and disaster relief, while 90 shelters have been set up. On Thursday, most domestic flights were grounded and international flights were affected, Taipei's two main airports said. Offices and schools were closed. The popular tourist spots of Green Island and Orchid Island, which have evacuated thousands of visitors in the past few days, announced the closure of all schools and offices on Thursday.