Typhoon Mangkhut Barrels Toward China After Lashing the Northern Philippines
News | 16.09.2018
Hong Kong braced for heavy rain and wind as Typhoon Mangkhut barreled toward the city Sunday, regaining some strength after taking a powerful swipe at the Philippines a day prior that left at least 28 people dead.
The biggest storm of the year has been downgraded from a “super” to a “severe” typhoon, but it is still considered very dangerous and the city issued its highest storm warning of Level 10 as winds of up to 117 miles per hour began closing in on the southern coast of China.
On Saturday, Mangkhut tore across the Cagayan Valley of the Philippines’ Luzon island, a storm-prone agricultural region that produces mostly rice and corn, with winds and rain equivalent to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane. While the impact took some edge off the storm, Mangkhut mustered more strength as it churned across the South China Sea.
More than 5 million people were threatened by the storm in the Philippines, where about 87,000 were evacuated from high-risk areas. The country was battered by sustained winds that reached 96 mph, with gusts of up to 118 mph, according to the Associated Press. At least 28 people were reportedly killed, mostly by landslides and collapsed buildings.
Violent typhoon #Mangkhut (#OmpongPH) has made landfall in Cagayan province, #Philippines. Max sustained winds of 205 kph near centre and gusts up to 285 kph. Possible storm surge height up to 6 m, says @dost_pagasa. Image #Himawari satellite. pic.twitter.com/VKqNCuVjrE
— WMO | OMM (@WMO) September 14, 2018
Severe #flooding in northern #Luzon #Philippines this morning 15th September due to affects from #TyphoonMangkhut last night. Report; @UglyStickkk #Mangkhut pic.twitter.com/l3rn7f59J6
— WEATHER/ METEO WORLD (@StormchaserUKEU) September 15, 2018
The storm will make its closest brush with Hong Kong around noon local time, side-swiping the densely populated city on its way to China’s Guangdong province. The semiautonomous region is preparing for “fierce winds” and “intense” downpours as the storm moves west-northwest at roughly 8 miles per hour, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.
Rainfall is expected to exceed 2 inches per hour and storm surges of up to 11.5 feet may reach the city’s central Victoria Harbor waterfront. Hong Kong Security Minister John Lee Ka-chiu said city authorities should “prepare for the worst.”
“Because Mangkhut will bring winds and rains of extraordinary speeds, scope and severity, our preparation and response efforts will be greater than in the past,” Ka-chiu said, according to the Associated Press.
Residents have been advised not to go outside and many have prepared to shelter until the storm passes, reinforcing windows with tape and emptying grocery store shelves of all but a few non-essential items. Streets were empty Sunday as howling winds brought heaping rain against the city’s shuttered buildings.
How to prepare for super typhoon mangkhuthttps://t.co/j6QrOKuLqc pic.twitter.com/EXWo6064Zw
— Kris Cheng (@krislc) September 16, 2018
More than 500 flights have been canceled affecting some 96,000 passengers, according to the South China Morning Post. Ferry services and most bus lines were also suspended, Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK reports.
In flood-prone coastal areas like Tai-O fishing village, some prepared to evacuate to one of dozens of government relief centers. But many resolved to ride out the storm, fortifying their homes with flood barriers and hoping for minimal impact.
“My mum used to live on a boat,” one resident told the Morning Post. “She knows if we will need to evacuate.”
The village on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island, experienced catastrophic flooding during last year’s Typhoon Hato, which caused up to HK$8 million ($1 million) in damage. The nearby gambling enclave of Macau suffered extensive damage and at least nine deaths.
Mangkhut is expected to make landfall near the Chinese port of Zhanjiang in Guangdong on Sunday evening, according to Reuters.