As Typhoon Mangkhut moved ashore in mainland China, nightfall provided a stark look at the storm’s deadly impact in Hong Kong.
By Sunday night, government officials had announced at least two people on the island were killed as the powerful cyclone passed about 60 miles to the southwest of the city and its more than 7 million residents.
Just days earlier in the Philippines, at least 64 people died in flooding and landslides triggered by Mangkhut.
The tropical system weakened significantly by the time it reached the islands of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories. Recorded wind gusts of up to 150 miles per hour toppled trees, construction scaffolding and street signs along the seawall in the city’s iconic Victoria Harbour.
Forecasters reported water levels in the harbor had risen 10 to 12 feet in a matter of hours due to storm surge.
Residents and tourists were instructed to stay inside Sunday after the Hong Kong Observatory issued a No. 10 signal, the highest of the agency’s public safety warnings for typhoons.
For hours, the city’s jungle of skyscrapers were lashed by blinding rain and sustained winds of at least 100 miles per hour. A construction crane atop a high rise taking shape in the Lan Kwai Fong neighborhood spun with every powerful gust.
Local media reported a portion of a building collapsed from stress and shattered glass from broken windows littered the streets and sidewalks in the Central Business District.
Guests of a nearby boutique hotel said they felt the 30-story building swaying from the upper floors during the height of Mangkhut’s winds.
Across Hong Kong, the normally bustling city became eerily still by nightfall. With public transit, subways, and the taxi service suspended, people set out on foot to survey the damage.
Storefronts remained shuttered, with many windows taped in an hasty attempt to protect property from flying debris and wind.
Services were expected to resume across the city by Monday morning, including flights grounded at Hong Kong International Airport. More than 90 thousand passengers were impacted by delays or cancellations, according to the South China Morning Post.
China’s government said more than 2.5 million people were evacuated in Guangdong Province.
Lane Luckie, a news anchor and reporter for KLTV in Tyler, Texas, is traveling to Asia to explore the current issues related to the important bilateral relationship between the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China. Click here to learn more about his special assignment.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KLTV/KTRE-TV or Raycom Media. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2018 Lane Luckie