Typhoon Mangkhut Predicted To Be Strongest Storm Ever Hit Hong Kong: Presents 'Great Danger' In The City

Super Typhoon Mangkhut
(Photo: Reuters)

On Tuesday, a top weather expert said Super Typhoon Mangkhut could be the strongest storm to ever hit Hong Kong, and it possibly presents a "great danger" in the city. The storm has been forecasted to be more powerful compared to other typhoons that passed Hong Kong.

Senior scientific officer at the Hong Kong Observatory Queenie Lam Ching-chi said the super typhoon could make an impact in the city although it's still far away. As of Wednesday (8 am), Super Typhoon Mangkhut is expected to be closest to Hong Kong on Sunday - about 100km southwest of Tsim Sha Tsui, where the Observatory has its headquarters.

There's still uncertainty regarding Mangkhut's path as it needed to pass first to narrow Luzon Strait between Taiwan and the Philippines before hitting Hong Kong, said Lam Chiu-Ying, the former director of the Observatory.

"Its intensity can be reduced if it hits land on either side [of the strait]," Lam said. "Since it's still so far away from Hong Kong, its path can easily deviate several hundreds of kilometers from the predicted path."

Still, Lam noted it's too early to say whether Mangkhut would directly hit Hong Kong, but it could be very close to the city and present a great danger. The weather on Sunday would be "relatively adverse," and low-lying areas could be at risk of flooding and seawater intrusion.

Lam advised it is important to take typhoon precautions beforehand.

According to the South China Morning Post, a typhoon is often referred if it passes Hong Kong within 100km. Forecasters have predicted that if Mangkhut would maintain its present course, then it will be about 240km southeast of the city at 8 am on Sunday, with winds that could reach some 220km/h (137mph).

The forecast wind speed has also been predicted to be the strongest since records began in 1946, and stronger compared to 15 super typhoons that warranted the highest No 10 warning signal.

Britain updated its travel advice on Hong Kong on Tuesday and warned the travelers to be aware of "hazardous sea and weather conditions" brought by Mangkhut. The airlines in the city, such as Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express, and Cathay Pacific Airways and Cathay Dragon, also announce to waive rebooking fees for passengers who will be traveling on Sunday and Monday, with some conditions attached.

On Saturday, Mangkhut is expected to pass Taiwan with a predicted intensity of 198km/h (123mph) at 2 pm of that same day, as per the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau. But, it's most likely to be closer to the northern Philippines than to Taiwan on Saturday.

The super typhoon swept Guam last Monday, causing floods and power outages.

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