Taiwan is bracing for Super Typhoon Nepartak, expected to make landfall early Friday.
The typhoon bearing down on the island has winds of more than 165 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, and is classified as a Category 5 storm.
It’s expected to weaken as it passes over Taiwan, eventually crossing the Taiwan Strait and into southeastern China. Southern and central China have seen heavy flooding in the past week that killed “about 130 people,” as Reuters reported. The storm could bring more rain to the area around Wuhan, a city that was one of the worst-hit by recent floods.
Taiwan’s port city of Ilan was already seeing large waves on Thursday, and “forecasters said waves of 1 to 7 meters (3 to 24 feet) could batter the coast, inland lakes and beachfront areas,” The Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, local government officials told the BBC that “around 3,000 tourists have been evacuated from the Green and Orchid Islands, two popular tourists spots off south-eastern Taitung county.”
The government has issued a Sea and Land Typhoon warning for the entire country, with large portions of the central areas and east coast under advisory for “extremely torrential rain,” according to the Central Weather Bureau. Officials “warned of the risk of flooding and mudslides as high winds and lashing rains were expected,” as the BBC reported.
Residents are stocking up on food to get through the storm — and that’s having an impact on prices, as the Taipei Times reported. “Vegetable prices were reported to have risen by an average of 20 percent yesterday as consumers stocked up on food and vegetables before markets closed due to the typhoon, the Agriculture and Food Agency said,” according to the newspaper.
The country’s financial markets will be closed on Friday, as Reuters reported, and “cities across the island, including Taipei, announced work and school closures. Airlines began cancelling flights and the bullet train service was suspended.”
Reporter James Reynolds posted this photo of the breathtaking sunset over Taiwan before the storm hits:
We’ll keep you updated on Typhoon Nepartak and its impact.