The Taiwan weather agency issued storm warning on Saturday as the country braces for its first typhoon of the year. Typhoon Nesat is already bringing crashing waves and strong winds to the east coast, where it is due to make landfall Saturday night.
Nesat, which strengthened into a moderate storm Friday, was 210 km southeast of Hualien county at 0215 GMT, packing gusts of up to 137 km an hour.
The authorities have warned of torrential rain in the eastern and southern counties and the tropical storm is expected to dump as much as 900ml of water in some areas. The schools and offices were cancelled for two outlying islands, while several eastern counties were expected to follow suit in the afternoon.
According to reports, a number of trains running along the east coast were also suspended on Saturday. Air travel services, including domestic flights to the east coast and outlying islands, were also disrupted. The authorities said that over 36,000 soldiers are on standby to help with disaster relief.
Last month, Taiwan was pounded by heavy rainfall that affected the country to quite an extent. At least one person died in June floods in the north of the country, after 600 millimetres of rain fell in under 11 hours in some areas.
Since typhoon Morakot left more than 400 people dead in its wake in 2009, the government has stepped up preventive measures against tropical storms.