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Typhoon Mangkhut lashes Hong Kong as storm continues deadly path

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A man and a girl walk against strong wind caused by Typhoon Mangkhut at a pier on the waterfront of Victoria Habour in Hong Kong on Sunday.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A convenience store is taped in preparation for approaching Typhoon Mangkhut in Hong Kong on Saturday.

Typhoon Mangkhut continued wreaking havoc, belting Hong Kong with mammoth gales and rain, as it moved along the coast of China’s Guangdong province following its deadly visit through the Philippines.

Heavy winds blew out apartment building windows and toppled trees across the city, local media reported. The Hospital Authority said 34 people were injured as of 12 p.m. Hong Kong time. The death toll in the Philippines from the storm hit 25, the government said.

In Hong Kong, images of a residential apartment and an office building with their windows blown out circulated on social media. Fallen trees forced closures of roads and tunnels, local media reported.

The typhoon had a top wind speed of 195 kilometers per hour (120 mph), according the U.S. Navy and Air Force’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii as of 11:30 a.m. local time.

Almost 900 flights were canceled Sunday due to the typhoon, the Hong Kong government said. Bus and ferry services as well as express train service to the airport have been suspended.

An average wind speed of 155 kilometer per hour was recorded in Waglan Island, an outlying island of Hong Kong, at 11 a.m., the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported, breaking records set by Typhoon Wanda in 1962 and Typhoon York 1999.

Two-to-three story high waves surged over the banks of eastern Hong Kong Island, washing away sandbags placed in defense, one local media reported. Surges of 4.5 meters (15 feet) were recorded in Tolo Harbour in northeast Hong Kong. Empty trawlers and barges could be seen floating in piles, after being blown together out at sea.

The Hong Kong Observatory issued a Hurricane Signal 10 at 9:40 a.m., warning residents to rush preparations and brace for high winds. The city’s emergency call center received 22 reports of fallen trees as of 9 a.m. on Sunday, the government said.

There is a risk stock trading on Monday may be partially suspended. Morning trading is canceled if there is a typhoon signal no. 8 or higher after 9 a.m., according to Hong Kong stock exchange rules. Trading will be scrapped for the rest of the day if signal remains after noon.

Mangkhut was about 100 kilometers south-southwest and is forecast to move west-northwest at about 30 kilometers an hour toward the coast to the west of the Pearl River, the observatory said. The typhoon is expected to make landfall in western part of Guangdong province Sunday evening, said the China Meteorological Administration, which has issued the highest typhoon alert.

In Macau, the government on Saturday night suspended all casino operations as Mangkhut approached, saying it would review the suspension once the typhoon had passed. The city raised its Signal to 10 on Sunday morning, the government said on its website.

Today’s havoc comes after the typhoon tore across the Philippines northern island yesterday, leaving a trail of destruction, killing at least 25 people, many of them in landslides, according to the government.

“There are still areas without power and a lot of areas with evacuees. Agriculture is badly hit,” Francis Tolentino, an adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, said by phone.

Among those who died is a family of four buried alive inside their home after a landslide in Nueva Vizcaya province, said Tolentino, who is scheduled to brief Duterte later Sunday.

Impacts of the storm were felt as far away as Taiwan, where high waves caused one death, according to the island’s government. Heavy rains and winds knocked out power for a short period in more than 12,000 homes, it said.

Economic losses in Hong Kong and across China could reach $50 billion on top of the $16 billion to $20 billion it probably exacted in the Philippines, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler for Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia. The impact in the Philippines could be between 5 to 6 percent of its gross domestic product.

Travel Disrupted

Throughout the region, airlines had canceled at least 1,339 flights through the next 48 hours, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based tracking service. Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said in a statement it will ground 400 flights in the next three days. Its unit Cathay Dragon said it won’t be flying Sunday.

AirAsia Group Bhd had canceled at least 22 flights as of Saturday morning, upsetting travelers from Manila to Shenzhen and Macau, according to a Facebook post. Philippines Airlines Inc. scrapped 41 Saturday flights, including those to Hangzhou and Tokyo, it said on Facebook.Mangkhut could affect as many as 30.5 million people across Asia, according to the United Nations Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. About 20 cyclones pass through disaster-prone Philippines each year. Super Typhoon Haiyan, which packed winds of 315 kilometers an hour, killed more than 6,300 people there in 2013.

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