Typhoon Haiyan whirled closer to Taiwan's northeastern coast on Tuesday, soaking the region with heavy rain and forcing many offices and schools to close.
The brunt of the storm was expected to veer north, missing the island, said Chen Yi-liang, a forecaster with the weather bureau. But the edges of the typhoon could brush over Taiwan's northern tip early Wednesday.
"Still, residents in the northern part of Taiwan should take precaution and brace to protect themselves from strong winds and torrential rain," Chen said.
Land warnings have been issued for major cities in northern and eastern Taiwan, including Hualien, Keelung, Taipei and Hsinchu home to many of the island's top high-tech firms.
Business and schools were closed for the day in the northeastern city of Ilan, while local officials in northern Taiwan scurried to prepare for possible flooding.
Taipei was on high alert because last month tropical storm Nari caused flooding that crippled the city's subway system. Portions of the subway, used by about a million people daily, are still closed.
The typhoon was 175 miles southeast of Taiwan's east coast in the Pacific Ocean, packing winds of 81 mph and gusts of up to 103 mph, the bureau said. Haiyan the Chinese name for the petrel, a sea bird was moving at 6 mph.