Typhoon Saola makes landfall in southern China as nearly 900,000 evacuated | China #Typhoon #Saola #landfall #southern #China #evacuated #China

Typhoon Saola has made landfall in southern China after nearly 900,000 people were moved to safety and most of Hong Kong and other parts of coastal southern China suspended business, transport and schools.

Guangdong province’s meteorological bureau said the powerful storm churned into an outlying district of the city of Zhuhai, just south of Hong Kong at 3.30am local time. It was forecast to move in a south-westerly direction along the Guangdong coast at a speed of about 10mph (17km/h), gradually weakening before heading out to sea.

China issues highest flood warning as Typhoon Saola approaches its south-eastern coast – video

On Friday, 780,000 people in Guangdong were moved away from areas at risk, as were 100,000 others in neighbouring Fujian province. More than 80,000 fishing vessels returned to port.

Workers stayed at home and students in several cities had the start of their school year postponed until next week. Trading on Hong Kong’s stock market was suspended on Friday and hundreds of people were stranded at the airport after about 460 flights were cancelled.

Rail authorities halted all trains entering or leaving Guangdong province from Friday night to Saturday evening, the Chinese state television service CCTV reported.

The Hong Kong Observatory issued a No 10 hurricane alert before the storm, the highest warning under the city’s weather system. It was the first such warning since Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong in 2018.

The observatory said Saola — with maximum sustained winds of 121mph — came closest to the city at about 11pm on Friday, skirting about 19 miles south of the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district. The storm’s eyewall, which surrounds its eye, was moving across the city overnight, “posing a high threat” to the territory, the agency said. By Saturday, morning, it said, maximum sustained wind speeds had fallen to 90mph.

The observatory warned of serious flooding in coastal areas and said the maximum water level might be similar to when Mangkhut felled trees and tore scaffolding off buildings in the city.

In recent months, several regions of China have experienced some of their heaviest rains and deadliest flooding in years, with dozens of people killed, including in outlying mountainous parts of the capital, Beijing.

As the storm’s heavy rains and strong winds closed in on Hong Kong, about 400 people sought refuge at temporary shelters, and ferry and bus services were halted. Residents of low-lying areas placed sandbags at their doors hoping to prevent their homes from being flooded.

A worker cuts up a fallen tree in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.
A worker cuts up a fallen tree in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Photograph: Xinhua/Shutterstock
Sandbag defences in the Lei Yue Mun district of Hong Kong
Sandbag defences in the Lei Yue Mun district of Hong Kong. Photograph: Billy HC Kwok/AP

Dozens of trees were knocked down and seven people were injured and sought treatment at public hospitals. Classes at all schools were to remain suspended on Saturday.

Some residents, including a security guard, Shirley Ng, still had to go to work on Friday. Ng said people were stocking up on food to prepare for the storm.

“I just hope that the typhoon won’t cause casualties,” she said.

Weather authorities in the nearby gambling hub of Macao also warned of flooding, forecasting that water levels might reach 1.5 metres in low-lying areas on Saturday morning. The cross-border bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai was closed mid-afternoon. The leader of Macao, Ho Iat Seng, ordered a halt to casino operations.

Another storm, Haikui, is gradually moving toward eastern China. Coupled with the influence of Saola, parts of Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang provinces would experience strong winds and heavy rains, the meteorological administration said. It predicted Haikui would hit Taiwan’s east coast on Sunday.

#Typhoon #Saola #landfall #southern #China #evacuated #China

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