Taiwan on high alert as Typhoon Nepartak approaches with wind speeds of 280 km

Officials have warned of the risk of flooding and mudslides as they are expecting severe rainfall.

Taiwan is on high alert for the arrival of Typhoon Nepartak which is expected to hit the island nation at around 2 am on Friday morning.

The typhoon is currently moving forward at a speed of up to 280 kilometers per hour (170 miles) and has chances of even reaching higher than that. The officials have also warned Taiwan of the risk of flooding and mudslides as they are expecting high winds and severe rainfall.

Government officials said thousands of tourists have been already evacuated from offshore islands ahead of the category-five Typhoon Nepartak. Around 3,000 people have been moved from two popular tourist spots off south-eastern Taitung County, Green and Orchid Islands.

"As the typhoon kept gaining strength and approaching Taiwan over the past three hours, the Central Weather Bureau decided to issue a sea warning at 14:30 local time (06:30 GMT)", senior forecaster Chen Yi-liang told AFP.

The senior official also said that the residents ahould be very careful and watchful.

The defense ministry said almost 35,000 soldiers have been put on stand-by. The Transport Minister of Taiwan, Hochen Tan, also assured the citizens that proper measures have been taken to ensure that the Taoyuan Airport will not be flooded.

Taiwan is often hit by typhoons, but Nepartak will be the largest super typhoon in about six years to make landfall on the island.

Nepartak will be the first typhoon to hit Taiwan, and also the entire northern hemisphere, in 2016.