The nine people caught in the flood waters were rescued by firefighters in rubber boats, Wu said.
“Flooding and landslides were widespread in the town, especially in the areas near mountains,” he added, calling the effects of the typhoon “more serious than predicted.”
Landslides reached the backyards of some residents’ homes, but they had already been evacuated, Wu said, adding that the ground may have been loosened by an earthquake last month.
In Keelung, some streets were submerged under 30cm of seawater, the National Fire Agency said, adding that flooding was also reported in Yilan and New Taipei City.
Low-lying houses along the Sindian River (新店溪) were also flooded, including one Aboriginal village which had been evacuated on Friday, a police officer said.
Roofs were ripped from homes in Keelung and Taipei, where strong winds and downpours disrupted power, uprooted trees and left the streets strewn with trash.
“I was very worried, I couldn’t sleep the whole night because the sound of the wind was so loud and my building was shaking almost like there was an earthquake,” Taipei resident Josephine Lin said.
Typhoon Soulik battered the capital, where about 59,000 households lost power and 1,667 trees lining the streets were uprooted.
The Taipei City Government said the damage was the most serious in the five years since Typhoon Jangmi hit in 2008.
Taipower division chief Lo Wen-yi (羅文毅) said most of the power outages happened in Shilin (士林), Beitou (北投) and Nangang (南港) districts, adding that downed trees that crushed utility poles were the main reason for the outages.
Taipower sent extra workers to fix the problem and the power will be back in all affected households by noon today, he said.
Taipei Department of Public Works Commissioner Chang Pei-yi (張培義) said the department will clear felled trees from major roads and around hospitals by today, and all obstructions on the streets will be removed by tomorrow.
The Taipei MRT’s Wenhu Line was closed until 10:20am yesterday after iron sheets fell on the rail tracks.
No heavy damage was reported at the Hsinchu Science Park, although the wind tore down more than 10 trees, Hsinchu Science Park Administration deputy director-general Tu Chi-hsiang (杜啟祥) said, adding that the fallen trees had already been removed.
Water and power supplies were not affected, he said.
The other industrial and science parks around the country were all also undamaged, Ministry of Economic Affairs officials said.
However, the building housing the Greater Taichung Council was leaking in several places and its basement flooded.
Since the newly completed building cost more than NT$2.6 billion (US$86.6 million), the leaking and flooding prompted criticism from city councilors across party lines.
The weather bureau lifted the land warning at 5:30pm as the threat from the typhoon diminished and it headed toward China, although the bureau said there would be continuous torrential rain in central and southern Taiwan.
The storm made a landing in the heavily populated Chinese coastal province of Fujian later in the afternoon, packing winds of 119kph, according to China’s National Meteorological Center. That was down from the 163kph winds the typhoon had boasted on making landfall in Taiwan around dawn.
About 300,000 people in Fujian were evacuated from their homes, Xinhua news agency reported. In Fujian and Zhejiang, another coastal province, train services were suspended, flights canceled and fishing boats called back to port. China’s weather service warned of possible floods and landslides.