Mangkhut was packing winds of up to 160 km/h (100 mph) as it battered Hong Kong on Sunday, causing high-rise buildings to sway and water to surge into the streets. Videos shared widely on Twitter and WhatsApp chat groups showed damage to some of the city’s towering and closely-packed buildings. A red alert remained in effect for parts of southern China, where the typhoon was moving westward.
The Hong Kong Observatory said that although Mangkhut had weakened slightly, its extensive, intense rainbands were bringing heavy rainfall and frequent squalls.
Mangkhut has now been downgraded to a severe typhoon, having approached the coast as a Category 5 storm – the strongest possible – with winds of up to 269km/h.
After tearing through Luzon and pummelling Hong Kong and Macau, the storm made landfall in mainland China late Sunday. Landslide warnings are in place.
Across Hong Kong, authorities strived to clear roads of debris, including toppled trees and bamboo scaffolding. There have been no reports of fatalities.
Fire rescue members help a woman to cross a flooded street in the village of Lei Yu Mun during Super Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong on September 16, 2018.
More than 2.4 million people had been evacuated in southern China’s Guangdong province by Sunday evening to flee the massive typhoon and almost 50,000 fishing boats were called back to port, state media reported.
An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people.
Transport services were suspended, with flights cancelled, trains stopped, and major roads closed.
The storm shattered glass windows on commercial skyscrapers in Hong Kong, sending sheets of paper pouring out of the buildings, fluttering and spiraling as they headed for the debris-strewn ground, according to videos on social media.
At least 25 people have been killed in the Philippines in a trail of devastation left by Typhoon Mangkhut, mostly in landslides in mountainous areas, a presidential adviser said on Sunday.
Police Superintendent Pelita Tacio said that a part of a mountain slope collapsed on the miners’ bunkhouses in a far-flung village of Itogon town in Benguet province as Typhoon Mangkhut’s ferocious winds and rain pounded the gold-mining region on Saturday.
Philippine authorities said a baby and a toddler were among the 29 dead, a lot of them in landslides in mountainous areas that left at least 13 missing.
Francis Tolentino, a political adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, told the BBC he estimated only a fifth of produce there had been harvested in advance – threatening staples like rice and corn. More than 60 people have been killed, mostly in landslides triggered by heavy rains, with the majority in Benguet province.
Typhoon Mangkhut has been dubbed the “King of Storms” by Chinese media.
“Our current goal is to get the clearing-up work done in most main routes by 5am”, transport commissioner Mable Chan said on Monday night, adding that smaller roads and certain routes in the North and Sai Kung districts would take more time. “Even for a person of my weight, I was about to be blown down by the wind which made me very scared”, said a 70-year-old resident surnamed Fung.
Storm surges raised sea levels as much as four meters higher than usual in Victoria Harbour.