Storm track of Super Typhoon Mangkhut as it closes in on Hong Kong, 15 September 2018. Graphic: SCMP

15 September 2018 (SCMP) – Hong Kong today faces sea levels more than two metres higher than normal as officials brace for the worst under a possible No 10 typhoon warning signal with the most powerful storm the world has seen this year roaring towards the city.

The No. 8 signal was raised at 1.10am on Sunday as Super Typhoon Mangkhut came within striking distance, threatening a total shutdown of the city with flights cancelled, villagers evacuated from low-lying areas, and government departments activating their emergency response plans.

The Observatory will consider issuing higher signals in the next few hours as winds continue to strengthen, with Mangkhut expected to skirt about 100km to the south of the city at noon today.

Senior science officer Lee Suk-ming said storm surges and flooding were expected to be more severe than the devastation delivered last year by Hato, the last signal 10 typhoon to hit Hong Kong.

Mangkhut, named after the Thai word for mangosteen, was about 280km southeast of Hong Kong at 6am, moving northeast at 30km/h and packing winds of 195km/h. It could turn out to be the most intense storm on record to hit the city.

Hong Kong was expected to be paralysed on Sunday, with hundreds of flights cancelled, most public services suspended and shops and businesses shuttered for the onslaught of the super typhoon after it ripped through the northern Philippines, leaving a trail of death and destruction. […]

The sun sets behind Hong Kong’s skyline as the city braces for Super Typhoon Mangkhut, 15 September 2018. Photo: Roy Issa

With Mangkhut forecast to make landfall over the west of mainland China’s Guangdong province, two nuclear power plants in the projected path of the super typhoon were “in combat readiness” to respond to any emergency.

At the Yanjiang Nuclear Power Station, just 230km west of Hong Kong, workers had secured its five generating units and were on high alert.

The China Meteorological Administration had its red alert in force – the highest level on a four-tier scale – after warning the south of the country could be put to “a severe test”.

Hong Kong’s neighbour, Macau, will raise a No 9 warning signal at 9am, with authorities taking no chances after being criticised for their poor handling of the previous super typhoon that killed 10 people last year.

For the first time in history, local casinos were ordered to suspend operations, from 11pm on Saturday, after officials “coordinated and discussed” the matter with the city’s six gaming corporations. [more]

Super Typhoon Mangkhut: Sea levels to surge with No 10 signal looming as world’s most powerful storm this year

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