Taiwan officials and media reports say Typhoon Morakot has left at least six people dead or missing as it passed over the island and surged toward China's eastern coast. Already, more than 20,000 have been evacuated from coastal areas in China and nine fishermen have gone missing after their boat capsized.
Forecasters at Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau say Typhoon Morakot made land fall late Friday, bringing with it winds of up to 199 kilometers per hour, and dumping between 1 to 2 meters of water on some areas.
The storm has downed power lines,damaged crops and forced the island's high-speed rail line to suspend operations.
Local television footage from northern and eastern parts of the island showed heavy waves lashing Taiwan's coast and some residents fleeing their homes as flood waters rose. Some were reportedly trapped and forced to wait for rescue workers to arrive.
Lo Ya-yi, a forecaster at Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau says the eye of the storm has already passed over Taiwan and the system is now headed toward China's eastern coast.
Lo says that while the eye of the storm has moved off of Taiwan's northwestern coast near the city of Taoyuan, the storm will continue to pass over the island, continuing to lash it with heavy rains and strong winds.
She adds that Taiwan will not be free of the storm until sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
Before slamming into Taiwan, disaster officials in the Philippines say rains and winds from Marakot triggered flash floods there, killing at least 11 people.
Three French tourists and two mountain trek guides drowned on Thursday in the Philippines when their car was swept away by a swollen river. Six other people were killed in flash floods and landslides on the main island of Luzon.
Although the storm is expected to weaken some before making landfall in China, authorities there have already evacuated thousands as they brace for the impact of the storm.
Forecasters in China's southeastern province of Fujian say Morakot is likely to make landfall late Saturday.
Forecasters say the storm has already unleashed torrential rain in Fujian where water has been recorded as much as a half meter above warning levels.