Hong Kong’s weather observatory issued its second-highest alert over Super Typhoon Saola, which threatens to become the strongest storm to hit southern China in decades, APA reports citing AlJazeera.
The Hong Kong Observatory called on the public not to go outside on Friday, to stay away from exposed doors and windows, and to find safe shelter. Tens of millions of people are in the powerful storm’s path.
“The increasing gale or storm signal Number 9 was issued at 6:20pm [10:20 GMT] on Friday. This means that winds are expected to increase significantly,” it said.
Saola’s wind speeds topped 220 kilometres per hour (135 miles per hour).
The weather would “deteriorate rapidly” throughout the day, the observatory said, warning of the possibility of serious flooding in low-lying coastal areas. Members of the public were also warned to stay away from the shoreline.
Dangerous storm surges of between one to three metres (3-10 feet) were expected, according to Al Jazeera weather presenter Jeff Harrington.
“This storm is teetering in on Category 5 hurricane status. It’s going to graze Hong Kong and Guangdong for sure but Macao is really going to be hit hard,” he said.
On China’s mainland, state media said Typhoon Saola would make landfall “in the coastal areas stretching from Huilai to Hong Kong” on Friday evening.
Guangdong province also declared a windstorm emergency level I – the highest level of emergency response.
China’s National Meteorological Centre issued a red alert and said more than 100,000 people have been relocated in eastern China’s Fujian province ahead of the typhoon’s arrival, the state-run Global Times media outlet reported.