Typhoon Mangkhut: South China hunkers down for deadly storm

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South China is bearing the brunt of Typhoon Mangkhut, which is deluging areas with heavy rain and wind speeds of up to 100mph (162km/h).

Millions of lives have been put on standstill as flights are cancelled, trains stopped and major roads closed.

Residents in the densely populated province of Guangdong have been in lockdown on the highest alert.

Two people were killed there, according to Chinese state media. At least 64 died in the Philippines.

Mangkhut, considered the strongest storm of 2018, ploughed through the north of the main Philippine island of Luzon on Saturday before travelling west.

Mangkhut is expected to gradually weaken into a tropical depression by Tuesday as it continues to move inland.

What’s the impact on China?

Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall on the Chinese coast near Jiangmen city on Sunday afternoon.

More than 2.45 million people were evacuated in advance as authorities issued a red alert, the highest warning level.


‘Extraordinarily powerful’ wind

Eyewitness: Matt Bossons, American journalist, Shenzhen

The wind is extraordinarily powerful and the rain has rendered visibility very, very limited at this point.

There’s still a lot of waves coming in off the ocean and there’s a lot of storm surge coming up onto the beach and on to the hotel grounds.

We were supposed to leave this morning and we’re still here as of now because the major roadways in the province are all closed and the trains which connect Shenzhen to most other parts of the country and province have all stopped, so our plans to try and get out of here have been delayed for probably at least another 24 hours or so.


Authorities also issued their maximum alert in Hong Kong, warning residents to stay indoors and away from windows to avoid flying debris.

Despite avoiding a direct hit, winds there reportedly reached more than 110mph.

As the storm passed, it made skyscrapers sway, flooded streets and broke windows.

Officials put the number of injured at more than 200, as water levels surged by almost 3.5m (12ft) in places.

Most shops and public services were shut, and about 900 flights were cancelled at Hong Kong International Airport.

A resident living in a high-rise in the city told Reuters news agency she could feel her building swaying in the storm.

“It swayed for quite a long time, at least two hours,” Elaine Wong said. “It made me feel so dizzy.”

In neighbouring Macau, for the first time in its history, the territory’s famous casinos were ordered to close.

How badly was the Philippines hit?

Dozens of people are reportedly missing.

Most of the deaths were reportedly caused by landslides, government officials say.

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The hardest hit province was Benguet, where 38 people were reportedly killed, with 37 more unaccounted for, the Associated Press reports.

One of the worst incidents there was in the town of Ucab in Itogon, where accommodation for miners was crushed by a large landslide, killing at least 26, according to police.

The BBC’s Howard Johnson travelled 80km from the city of Tuguegarao to Aparri on the northern coast.

He describes a trail of destruction along the route – forests ripped to shreds, electricity poles felled and crops eradicated.

There is also concern over the economic cost of the typhoon, which has caused extensive damage to farmland in Cagayan, a key agricultural province.

Francis Tolentino, a political adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, told the BBC that he estimated only a fifth of produce there had been harvested in advance – threatening staples like rice and corn.

Preparation and evacuation procedures have improved since Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 which killed more than 7,000 people.

Warnings were issued, travel was restricted, schools shut and the army was put on standby in advance.

Hurricanes

A guide to the world’s deadliest storms

Hurricanes are violent storms that can bring devastation to coastal areas, threatening lives, homes and businesses.

Hurricanes develop from thunderstorms, fuelled by warm, moist air as they cross sub-tropical waters.
Warm air rises into the storm.

Air swirls in to fill the low pressure in the storm, sucking air in and upwards, reinforcing the low pressure.

The storm rotates due to the spin of the earth and energy from the warm ocean increases wind speeds as it builds.

When winds reach 119km/h (74mph), it is known as a hurricane – in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific – or a typhoon in the Western Pacific.

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Well, we’re about to get punched in the face."
Florida Mayor Bob Buckhorn, ahead of Hurricane Irma (2017)

The central eye of calmer weather is surrounded by a wall of rainstorms.
This eyewall has the fastest winds below it and violent currents of air rising through it.

A mound of water piles up below the eye which is unleashed as the storm reaches land.
These storm surges can cause more damage from flooding than the winds.

"Urgent warning about the rapid rise of water on the SW FL coast with the passage of #Irma’s eye. MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!"
Tweet from the National Hurricane Center

The size of hurricanes is mainly measured by the Saffir-Simpson scale – other scales are used in Asia Pacific and Australia.

Winds 119-153km/h
Some minor flooding, little structural damage.
Storm surge +1.2m-1.5m

Winds 154-177km/h
Roofs and trees could be damaged.
Storm surge +1.8m-2.4m

Winds 178-208km/h
Houses suffer damage, severe flooding
Storm surge +2.7m-3.7m

Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused $ 71bn damage in the Caribbean and New York

Winds 209-251km/h
Some roofs destroyed and major structural damage to houses.
Storm surge +4m-5.5m

Hurricane Ike (2008) hit Caribbean islands and Louisiana and was blamed for at least 195 deaths

Winds 252km/h+
Serious damage to buildings, severe flooding further inland.
Storm surge +5.5m

Hurricane Irma (2017) caused devastation in Caribbean islands, leaving thousands homeless

"For everyone thinking they can ride this storm out, I have news for you: that will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your life."
Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin ahead of Hurricane Gustav, 2008

How have you been affected by the typhoon? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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