Typhoon Haikui made landfall on eastern Taiwan Sunday, the first major storm to directly hit the island in four years.

"The typhoon made landfall in Taitung around 3:40 pm, it's a little earlier than expected as it's moving faster," the Central Weather Bureau's forecaster Yeh Chih-chun said. Haikui was initially forecast to land at 4 pm.

Thousands of people were evacuated ahead of the storm, with hundreds of flights cancelled and businesses closed.