Image: Man struggles against wind
Nicky Loh  /  Reuters
A man struggles against the wind in Taipei on Sunday.
updated 9/28/2008 10:13:57 AM ET 2008-09-28T14:13:57

Authorities evacuated villagers from landslide-prone areas in Taiwan and residents boarded up windows amid torrential rain and wind as Typhoon Jangmi roared toward the island Sunday.

The usually bustling capital of Taipei was eerily quiet with only a few cars on streets buffeted by the stormy weather.

CTI Television showed villagers evacuating the scenic mountain resort of Lushan in central Taiwan, clutching small bags of personal belongings. The area was badly damaged when Typhoon Sinlaku hit two weeks ago, with massive mudslides destroying at least three hotels.

Hundreds of fishing boats sheltered at ports, and domestic flights and rail services were canceled, television stations reported.

Taiwan's China Airlines and EVA Airways said several flights to Asia were canceled or rescheduled for Monday. China's Southern and Hainan Airlines canceled their flights to the island from Beijing and Shanghai.

'Gaining strength'
The Disaster Relief Center said authorities were closely monitoring the water levels in rivers, particularly at 19 major bridges that will be closed if necessary.

"The storm's fringes are covering most of Taiwan, and is gaining strength," said Wu Teh-rong, a meteorologist with the Central Weather Bureau.

Sanli Television showed thousands of birds flapping their white wings above the Hengchun Peninsula in southern Taiwan as the storms forced them to halt their seasonal migration north.

The bureau said Jangmi was centered about 75 miles southeast of Hualien in eastern Taiwan on Sunday morning. Packing sustained winds of 118 miles per hour, Jangmi will likely make landfall in Hualien in the evening, the bureau said.

Jangmi is the fourth typhoon — and likely the most powerful — to hit the island this year, the bureau said, warning of "super torrential rains" in several mountainous areas.

Typhoons frequently hit Taiwan between July and October, causing flash floods and deadly landslides. Typhoon Sinlaku killed 12 people and left 10 others missing.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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