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Taiwan evacuates 2,000 tourists as super-typhoon looms large

Taiwan evacuated more than 2,000 tourists today as the island braced for super-typhoon Soulik with authorities warning of fierce winds and torrential rains.

The typhoon, packing gusts of up to 227 kilometres per hour, was 960 kilometres east of the island’s southernmost tip as of 0300 GMT, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said.

Soulik is moving west-northwest towards Taiwan at about 22 kilometres per hour and could narrowly skip or make landfall in the north of the island sometime between late tomorrow and Saturday morning, the bureau said.

‘The public must heighten their vigilance as the typhoon will certainly bring strong winds and heavy rains,’ a weather forecaster told AFP.

Authorities Thursday evacuated 2,300 tourists from Green Island, off the southeastern city of Taitung, and issued a warning to ships sailing north and east off Taiwan to take special precaution.

The Hong Kong Observatory has classified Soulik as a ‘super typhoon’ on its website, while Taiwan’s weather bureau listed it as a ‘strong typhoon’.  On the Chinese mainland, meteorological authorities maintained an orange alert, the second-highest level, for Soulik Thursday, Beijing’s Xinhua reported. 
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