HONG KONG: Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Friday (Sep 1) in China’s populous Guangdong province and neighbouring Hong Kong ahead of Typhoon Saola’s arrival, with the powerful storm forcing some mainland cities to close businesses, schools and even financial markets.
Three tropical cyclones have formed in the northwest Pacific Ocean and South China Sea. Saola and Haikui were labelled typhoons while Kirogi, the most distant from land, was still classified as a tropical storm.
Saola, packing winds of more than 200kmh, will make landfall in Guangdong, which encompasses Hong Kong. It could be among the five strongest typhoons to hit Guangdong since 1949, Chinese authorities warned on Thursday.
Saola could make landfall on Friday night or Saturday morning as a severe typhoon along the coast between the cities of Huidong and Taishan, China’s National Meteorological Centre said. Hong Kong and Macau lie in the centre of that coastline.
Weather conditions will deteriorate rapidly as the typhoon makes landfall, the Hong Kong observatory said, with storm surge potentially reaching around 3m higher than the normal tide in some areas.
All schools in Hong Kong were closed on Friday, despite being the first day of term for many.
“We can see that the eye of the typhoon will pass very close to Hong Kong. I’m a bit concerned and hope it won’t cause too many casualties,” office worker Wai Yi said as she strolled by the sea with her husband in the city’s eastern Heung Fa Chuen area.
In Hong Kong on Thursday, crowds were seen jostling at fresh food markets in downtown Wan Chai district with many vegetables already sold out. There were long queues at supermarkets as people stocked up ahead of the storm.
The city’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said all flights in and out of Hong Kong between 2pm (0600 GMT) on Friday and 10am (0200 GMT) on Saturday have been cancelled.
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