Typhoon Mangkhut Killed 28 in Philippines, Now Hammering South China
Hong Kong and southern China are on Red Alert Sunday as strong winds and heavy rain from super Typhoon Mangkhut lashed the densely populated coast, a day after the biggest storm of the year left at least 28 dead from landslides and drownings in the northern Philippines.
Nearly 500,000 people had been evacuated from seven cities in Guangdong province, the gambling enclave of Macau closed down casinos for the 1st time and the Hong Kong Observatory warned people to stay away from the Victoria Harbour landmark, where storm surges battered the waterfront reinforced with sandbags.
Mangkhut is due to make landfall in Guangdong later Sunday.
The national meteorological center said southern China “will face a severe test caused by wind and rain” and urged officials to prepare for possible disasters.
On Sunday morning, the typhoon packed sustained winds of 96 mph and gusts of up to 118 mph.
The Hong Kong Observatory said although Mangkhut had weakened slightly, its extensive, intense rain-bands were bringing heavy downfall and frequent squalls.
Hundreds of flights were canceled.
All high-speed and some normal rail services in Guangdong and Hainan provinces were also halted Sunday, the China Railway Guangzhou Group Co. said.
In Fujian province and elsewhere, tens of thousands of fishing boats returned to port and construction work came to a stop.
Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde told The Associated Press that 20 people had died in the Cordillera mountain region, 4 in nearby Nueva Vizcaya province and another outside of the 2 regions, and 3 more deaths have been reported in northeastern Cagayan province, where the typhoon made landfall before dawn Saturday.
In Hong Kong, Security Minister John Lee Ka-chiu urged residents to 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,” Mr. Lee said. “Each department must have a sense of crisis, make a comprehensive assessment and plan, and prepare for the worst.”
Cathay Pacific said all of its flights would be canceled between 2:30a Sunday and 4:00p Monday. The City of Shenzhen also canceled all flights between Sunday and early Monday morning.
Hainan Airlines canceled 234 flights in the cities of Haikou, Sanya, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai scheduled at the weekend.
For the 1st time in the history of Macau casinos were ordered to close from 11:00p Saturday, the South China Morning Post reported.
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