UPDATE 3, North East Taiwan 0000z:
Typhoon Sinlaku is crawling towards Taiwan after intensifying into powerful typhoon. According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency, Sinlaku is packing sustained winds of 95kts with gusts up to 135kts.
Taiwan is under typhoon warnings from the Central Weather Bureau who expected the storm to make landfall over the northeastern side of the island either tonight or tomorrow morning local time.
Sinlaku is a slow moving storm which increases the risks off severe flooding and damage. Some forecasts estimate the typhoon could take up to 24 hours to cross Taiwan which if verified could lead to vast quantise of rain falling.
I am in the town of Toucheng on the NE coast with fellow storm chaser and journalist Geoff Mackley to cover typhoon Sinlaku first hand. Winds are starting to increase and the area has been lashed by torrential rains all day. I am expecting conditions to worsen further over the next few hours.
Be sure to check back for regular updates on the storm as well as photos and video from the worst affected areas.
The bureau, which updates its report every three hours, said Sinlaku was a slow-moving but strong typhoon and would bring a heavy downpour and strong wind if it hit the island. The rain was likely to be up to 1,300 mm.
The strongest gusts and rain were expected late on Saturday night and Sunday morning, it said.
The whole island was bracing for the storm. Residents in many parts had prepared sandbags to prevent water from getting in their homes, and relevant departments were distributing pumps. Counties including Taipei, Keelung and Ilan announced suspension of work and classes from Friday night or Saturday.
For more information please consult:
www.typhoonfury.com - My website with information on current and previous high impact typhoons in Asia.
http://www.cwb.gov.tw/V5e/index.htm - Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.
http://www.jma.go.jp/en/typh/ - Japanese Meteorological Agency
www.typhoon2000.ph - Philippines based typhoon tracking website