Taiwan was preparing for Super Typhoon Nepartak, expected to slam into the island late Thursday, state-run Central News Agency reported.
A man died after being swept off a beach in the eastern country of Hualien, despite the beach being closed amid a strong swell driven ahead of the approaching storm, Apple Daily reported.
More than 100 passenger and cargo flights out of the main international airport were cancelled or delayed, the state-run Central News Agency reported, citing airport authorities.
The storm was about 320 kilometres east of Taipei at 2 pm (0600 GMT), and predicted to bring heavy rain and strong winds to the whole island on late Thursday and into Friday, the Central Weather Bureau said.
The bureau issued a land warning for the typhoon late Wednesday, especially in the eastern and south-eastern parts of Taiwan.
Northern Taiwan would also face torrential rain, forecasters said.
Taiwan Railways said it was suspending its nationwide services Thursday. The Alishan Forest Railway, a scenic tourist attraction that runs on narrow-gauge tracks up to an altitude of 2,200 metres, was also being taken offline from Thursday to Saturday.
The high-speed trains that operate in the west of the country were to be suspended from Friday.
More than 2,000 tourists were evacuated from Green Island off the south-eastern city of Taitung late Wednesday.
More than 30,000 troops were ready to be sent to disaster areas, the National Defence Ministry said Thursday.
Nepartak, the first storm of the 2016 Pacific typhoon season, has been classified as a super typhoon by the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center.