The supertyphon, considered the most powerful storm of the year, killed about thirty people in the Philippines before hitting Hong Kong.
By Florence de Changy (Hongkong, correspondence)
After to have caused the death of thirty people in the north of the Philippines, the supertyphon Mangkhut, considered the most powerful storm of the year, fell on Hong Kong where the highest level of alert (the signal T10) was declared Sunday morning September 16th. This huge hurricane, which is about 900 kilometers in diameter – comparable to that of France – had weakened over the Philippines and re-emerged in the South China Sea.
At noon (local time), the Meteorological Observatory of the former British colony, now known as the "Special Administrative Region of China" since 1997, reported having already recorded gusts of 256 km / h and sustained winds of 190 km / h, speeds exceeding previous records. The whole territory was caught in a whitish sky, with roars of wind regularly interrupted by the sounds of breakage and collapses of billboards, bins detected and unidentified flying furniture …
A huge crane turns like a wind vane
Neighborhoods normally lively on Sundays were deserted. As a precaution and habit, the windows of Hong Kong's thousands of skyscrapers had been crossed with large bars of tape. This did not prevent a recent office building from to lose most of its windows in the Hung Hom district, the wind then taking over the strip. Videos shared on social networks show, in addition to some disemboweled facades, heavy branches of trees flying like strands of straw, a huge crane turning like a wind vane, a collapsing high wall and some flying roofs. To the naked eye, some buildings seem to oscillate.
In some villages of the new territories – mainland of Hong Kong territory – several areas were completely flooded, cars floating like bottles to the sea banging against the walls of houses. Several scaffoldings have broken down and partially collapsed in the very popular neighborhoods of Causeway Bay and Kowloon. In the various ports of Hong Kong, the situation was also chaotic. In the port of Aberdeen, south of the island, several junks – large pleasure boats – have unhooked their rings, some have sunk.
In the neighboring Chinese port of Shenzhen dozens of containers have fallen into the water. The low tide expected at the end of the day should mitigate the rise of the waters in the port and on all the floodable parts of the territory.
"If to prepare at worst "
The traffic, almost nonexistent, was interrupted in several hotspots, some bridges and tunnels were blocked by debris. At Hongkong airport, most flights have been canceled and Cathay Pacific has scheduled the cancellation of more than 400 flights over the next three days.
The eye of the typhoon has come closer to Hong Kong in the early afternoon but, according to the weather forecast, the storm should Carry on to make feel throughout the day and part of the night from Sunday to Monday.
Hong Kong is familiar with typhoons even though supertyphons or level 10 warnings remain exceptional. Since Friday, Hong Kong residents and residents of the southern coast of China have been asked to "Prepare for the worst" by the authorities. All the departments of the government of Hong Kong have activated their highest level of emergency plans for parry possible consequences. The inhabitants of two low islands had been evacuated on Saturday title and more than 600 poorly housed people were accommodated in shelters.
In Macau, an hour away by ferry from the Pearl River delta, where Supertyphon Hato had killed 12 people in August 2017, the government to close all casinos Saturday night. By midday Sunday, Hong Kong hospitals reported treating 34 wounded. Even though some experts are already talking about tens of billions of dollars in damage, it is still far too early to assess the extent of the destruction.