Typhoon Mangkhut will pass over the coast of southern China and be closest to the Pearl Delta, one of the most densely urbanised regions in the world, around noon today.
So far, it’s been recorded as she strongest storm this year. It’s just barreled through the northern Philippines and is now headed for China. It brought ferocious winds and torrential rain when it hit the northern coast of Luzon island yesterday morning around 2am.
Typhoon Mangkhut, known locally as Ompong in The Philippines, made landfall in Cagayan province on northeast Luzon island. The tropical cyclone put at least five million people at risk as it made its way northwest from the Pacific Ocean after already hitting Guam and Marshall Islands.
Mangkhut, considered the strongest storm on the planet so far this year, was the 15th to hit the Philippines in 2018. Its tropical storm-force winds extended 880 kilometres across, according to the country’s weather agency, making it nearly double the size of Florence, the tropical storm that made landfall over the southeastern United States on Friday.
An adviser to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says at least 12 people died, mostly due to landslides in northern Luzon Island. Trees have been blown over, buildings have been destroyed and the region’s roads are strewn with debris.
The cyclone is now forecast to make another landfall over southeastern China, just west of Hong Kong today and will then weaken as it continues its track north-west into southern China and northern Vietnam. It will also brush past the Chinese tourist island of Hainan.
The area is bracing for Mangkhut by halting ferry services, evacuating tens of thousands of fishermen and sending boats back to port.
Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, says all flights will be canceled between 2:30 a.m. local time on Sunday and 4 a.m. Monday.
The Chinese Meteorological Administration has raised its storm alert twice, first to yellow and then orange, the second-highest level on its four-tier warning system, as Mangkhut moved into the South China Sea and picked up speed. The administration said the storm could be the strongest to hit the country this year, and warned that southern China could be put to “a severe test” just days after Typhoon Barijat hit the region.