Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Typhoon Mangkhut: millions in path of storm and monsoon rains

Typhoon Mangkhut: millions in path of storm and monsoon rains

Forecast of tropical storm Mangkhut.

After leaving the Philippines, the fast-moving storm is expected to blow toward Hong Kong and southern China on Sunday if it maintains its course, forecasters said.

Forecasters said Wednesday that Typhoon Mangkhut, which was churning 1,190 kilometres (738 miles) in the Pacific off the eastern Philippines with sustained winds of 205 kilometres per hour (127 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 255 kph (158 mph), could make landfall in northern Cagayan province on Saturday.

While there was still uncertainty in its path the observatory said it could still pose very rough swells, flooding or a backflow of seawater to low-lying areas on the coast of Guangdong.

Mangkhut, classified by the Hong Kong Observatory as a super typhoon, is forecast to pack maximum winds of 230 kilometers per hour by Friday before gradually weakening.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut, known as Super Typhoon Ompong in the Philippines, is now equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane, with winds of at least 252 kilometers per hour (157 mph), stronger than Florence, which is expected to cause massive flooding and devastation in the Carolinas.

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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned that "disaster is at the doorstep", and "tens of thousands" of buildings may be flooded. US President Donald Trump has authorised emergency measures to free up federal funds to help those responding to the storm.

"We're anxious for the 10 million people in the Philippines living in the path of this destructive storm", said Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross. It can affect as many as 43.4 million people, according to the United Nation's Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

The Philippine Red Cross estimates three million Filipinos live in the direct path of Mangkhut, communications officer Mary Joy Evalarosa told AFP.

With powerful winds set to reach 278 kilometres per hour (172 miles per hour), Mangkhut is expected to hit the Philippines today before striking financial hub Hong Kong as well as southern China's Guangdong Province by the weekend. Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and displaced over 5 million in the central Philippines in 2013.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is predicting Mangkhut will leave "substantial damage" in its path.

Even so, Guy said will come "dangerously close to clipping the country", causing heavy rain and flooding in the island's north, where local authorities are preparing relief goods and security forces have been put on alert.

It said there could be storm surges of up to seven metres (23ft) in coastal areas and that heavy rains could spark landslides and flash floods.

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