By Benjamin Yeh
Typhoon Soudelor has made landfall in Taiwan, ripping up trees and tearing down billboards as it batters the island with fierce winds and torrential rain.
An eight-year-old girl and her mother had already become the first casualties after they were swept out to sea and died as the storm approached.
There were no immediate confirmed reports of further deaths early on Saturday but local media said a man had been killed overnight by a falling commercial sign in the coastal town of Suao.
Thousands have been evacuated, with 1300 now in 43 temporary shelters across the island. All schools and workplaces will shut on Saturday as the storm passes across central Taiwan.
The typhoon made landfall in the town of Hsiulin in eastern Hualien county at 4..40am (0640 AEST).
In nearby Hualien city trees were uprooted and a giant billboard ripped from a building while motorbikes were scattered across the streets, thrown around by the wind.
"(It is) moving northwest, bringing heavy rains and fierce winds to the whole island, although gradually losing its strength," the Central Weather Bureau said.
The strongest winds were in Suao, where gusts reached 237km/h.
Local media reported that more than 60,000 homes were without electricity.
At least 80 international flights have been cancelled and high-speed rail services were halted.