TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - A super typhoon swirled past Hong Kong on Sunday, barreling towards the Chinese coast and gaining strength over the South China Sea after it wreaked havoc in the Philippines and killed at least 29 people.
Packing gale force winds of more than 200 kph (125 mph), tropical cyclone Mangkhut is considered the strongest to hit the region this year, equivalent to a maximum Category 5 “intense hurricane” in the Atlantic.
Mangkhut, the Thai name for Southeast Asia’s mangosteen fruit, was expected to skirt 100 km (62 miles) south of Hong Kong and veer west towards the coast of China’s southern Guangdong province, and the gaming center of Macau.
Hong Kong raised its highest No. 10 typhoon signal at mid-morning as ferocious winds uprooted trees and smashed windows in office and residential buildings, some of which swayed in the gusts, residents said.
“It swayed for quite a long time, at least two hours. It made me feel so dizzy,” said Elaine Wong, who lives in a high-rise tower in Kowloon.
Water levels surged 3.5 m (12 ft) in some places, waves swamped roads and washed up live fish, washing into some residential blocks and a mall in an eastern district.
“It’s the worst I’ve seen,” resident Martin Wong told Reuters. “I’ve not seen the roads flood like this, (and) the windows shake like this, before.”
The plans of tens of thousands of travelers were disrupted by flight cancellations at Hong Kong’s international airport, a major regional hub. Airlines such as flagship carrier Cathay Pacific canceled many flights last week.
Philippine authorities said a baby and a toddler were among the 29 dead, most of them in landslides in mountainous areas that left at least 13 missing.