Typhoon Mangkhut, the most powerful storm yet recorded this year, lashed Hong Kong and Macau on Sunday, 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. According to local officials, at least 213 people had sought medical treatment in Hong Kong as of Sunday evening (local time), while Macau reported at least 17 people injured; no deaths have been recorded in either territory as a result of the storm. Over 1200 people in Hong Kong had sought refuge in 48 shelters set up before the storm; similar numbers of displaced people were reported in Macau. Significant material and infrastructural damages have also been reported in affected areas, with some 7000 customers in Hong Kong and 22,000 customers in Macau reportedly without power on Sunday. Services are expected to be restored progressively on Monday as conditions improve.
On mainland China, over 2.45 million people were evacuated in Guangdong province ahead of the storm's arrival; Mangkhut made landfall near Taishan around 17:00 on Sunday. Strong winds with gusts up to 162 km/h (100 mph) were reported. At least two people were killed in the storm on mainland China, bringing the total number of fatalities attributed to Mangkhut to 66 after the death toll in the Philippines - hit by the typhoon one day prior - rose to 64. According to Chinese government officials, 3777 temporary shelters have been opened to accommodate those displaced by the storm. Although Mangkhut is expected to weaken as it moves west overland toward Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan provinces, heavy rains are expected to continue and the risk of flooding or landslides in affected areas remains high in the near-term.
Nearly 900 flights were canceled at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) on Sunday. On mainland China, Guangzhou International Airport (CAN) and Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport (SZX) were forced to cancel all flights through at least Monday morning. Trains and ferry service in Guangdong and Hong Kong were also suspended. 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 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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