Beijing/Hong Kong, Sep 17 (IANS): Typhoon Mangkhut, the world’s strongest storm this year, continued its path of destruction across Southeast Asia, reaching mainland China after pummeling Hong Kong and killing dozens in the Philippines, authorities said on Monday.
Mangkhut is now expected to move inland of China’s western Guangdong on Monday. While the storm has weakened, a T8 warning was still in place into Sunday evening — meaning that winds with speeds of about 63 kph were expected, CNN reported.
The storm has carved a deadly trail across the region, killing two people in southern China and at least 54 people in the Philippines, with more than 250,000 people affected.
Many of the Philippines’ deaths were caused by landslides, with dozens more still believed to be buried beneath the deluge, government officials said at a news conference on Sunday.
More than 2.45 million people have been evacuated in Guangdong as Mangkhut made landfall on Sunday night, according to Chinese state media.
Some 18,327 emergency shelters had been activated in the province, and that 632 tourism and 29,611 construction sites had been shut down.
As Mangkhut moved toward the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong was also buffeted by fierce winds that tore off roofs, downed trees and caused cranes perched atop half-built skyscrapers to swing ominously.
Hong Kong’s weather observatory issued its highest storm warning alert — a signal T10 — and the normally bustling city was all but shut down as transport was suspended and torrential rain flooded roads and buildings.
Winds of 173 kph and gusts of up to 223 kph were reported, stronger than Hurricane Florence that hit North Carolina over the weekend. There were no reported deaths in Hong Kong.
Airports in Shenzhen, a technology hub across the border from Hong Kong, and on the resort island of Hainan also cancelled all flights.
Mangkhut is still expected to bring heavy rain to Hong Kong, with flood warnings in place for low-lying areas.