Southern China on high alert as Super Typhoon Mangkhut looms large
High winds and torrential downpours predicted as second typhoon in days forecast to strike on Sunday or Monday
After Typhoon Barijat lashed southern China on Thursday, authorities in the region are now bracing for the impact of its big brother, Super Typhoon Mangkhut.
The National Meteorological Centre said late on Thursday it expected Mangkhut to hit western Guangdong or eastern Hainan province late Sunday or early Monday. The maximum sustained wind speed near its centre could reach 52 metres per second (116mph), it said.
Such is the possible severity of the storm that China’s state meteorological authority said that weather forecasters from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau held their first ever joint video conference on Thursday morning to discuss the issue.
Typhoon Barijat landed in Zhanjiang, Guangdong, bringing heavy winds and rain to the city and the neighbouring regions of Guangxi and Hainan. Before it struck, thousands of people were evacuated, fishing boats were called back to port, and power plants and reservoirs were placed on high alert.
The Ministry of Emergency Management said on Thursday that task forces had been dispatched to the affected areas to support local rescue and emergency response efforts.
Factory owners in Dongguan and Shenzhen told the South China Morning Post that they had no specific contingency measures in place but were keeping a close eye on the looming super typhoon.
Last year, Typhoon Hato wreaked havoc in some parts of the Pearl River Delta.
A gallery owner in Shenzhen’s Dafen Oil Painting Village, which is home to thousands of Chinese art wholesalers and producers, said he was worried about the risk of flooding and had been moving his artworks to higher ground.
High-speed rail services have been cancelled between Guangdong and neighbouring Hunan province, as well as between the key cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, state media reported.
Reservoirs and hydroelectric stations in the region have also been asked to stay on high alert.
Before Barijat landed, about 60,000 vessels managed to return safely to port in Guangdong and Hainan.
Meanwhile, almost 12,000 people living in at-risk areas across Guangdong had been evacuated as of Wednesday, Nanfang Daily reported.