Officials downgraded Mangkhut from a typhoon to a tropical storm at approximately 06:00 (local time) on Monday, September 17, as the storm continued to move into southern China. Mangkhut is expected to continue to impact the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan with heavy rains and strong winds through Tuesday, September 18, as it travels west. Chinese authorities reported that the death toll from the storm has risen to at least four people from falling trees and building materials in Guangdong. The casualty count may increase in the coming hours and days as recovery efforts continue in the affected areas.
Transportation and power services have also slowly started to recover in China, Hong Kong, and Macau. As of Monday morning, flights started to resume at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and the Guangzhou International Airport (CAN). However, airlines operating out of HKG warned travelers that there will be continued delays and possible cancelations depending on weather conditions. According to local media reports, authorities in Macau have restored power to some 20,000 residents, but outages are ongoing. Additional transportation disruptions, power and telecommunications outages, flash flooding, and mudslides are possible in the affected areas in the coming hours and days.
Typhoon Mangkhut, the most powerful storm recorded so far this year, hit Hong Kong and Macau on September 16 before making landfall in southern China's Guangdong province later in the day. Torrential rain caused flooding and strong winds of up to 173 km/h (107 mph) - with gusts of 223 km/h (138 mph) - blew out windows in high rise buildings and toppled trees in Hong Kong and Macau. Mangkhut made landfall over Philippines' northern island of Luzon on Saturday, September 15, killing at least 64 people and causing severe material damage to the area; the casualty count is expected to increase in the coming days as recovery efforts get fully underway. Tropical cyclones and typhoons are common in the region during the monsoon season, which lasts from May through November.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to stay abreast of local weather reports, adhere to instructions given by local authorities, anticipate transportation, power, and telecommunication disruptions, and to avoid flood-prone areas until the situation stabilizes. Travelers utilizing airports in southern China are advised to confirm their flight status before traveling to the airport and anticipate delays and cancelations. Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater and chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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