Hong Kong, Sep 2 (EFE).- Super typhoon Saola made landfall in southeast China’s Guangdong province early Saturday, leaving a trail of destruction and flooding in Shenzhen city and the neighboring Hong Kong and Macao.
The typhoon made landfall around 3:30 am south of the city of Zhuhai, located along the coast of Guangdong, the National Meteorological Center said.
The secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the province, Huang Kunming, had urged the population to be “combat ready” for the typhoon, which, according to the local meteorological observatory, will cause strong winds and torrential rainfall in the southern and coastal areas of Guangdong over the weekend.
Several major cities in southern China were under maximum alert as Saola crossed the South China Sea late Friday, forcing millions in Shenzhen, Hong Kong and other cities in the area to take protective measures.
Despite threatening to become one of the most devastating storms to hit Hong Kong in decades – local authorities had issued the highest storm warning for the first time in five years – Saola made landfall in the south of the former British colony after being downgraded from super typhoon to severe typhoon.
Hundreds of flights were canceled on Friday in Guangdong and Hong Kong, where businesses and schools remained closed.
By 10 pm on Friday, more than 780,000 people in the Guangdong region had been evacuated from high-risk areas and more than 80,000 fishing vessels in the province had returned to ports to take shelter.
Hong Kong on Saturday lowered the hurricane storm signal from 10 to 8, which will remain in force until 4 pm amid heavy rainfall and flooding.
Both transportation and commercial activity had gradually resumed in Hong Kong on Saturday morning while workers cleaned the streets of the destruction and adhesive tape on the windows and sandbags on the doors of several buildings to protect them from possible flooding were still visible.
The government said that more than 500 people took refuge in public shelters and that over 50 were admitted to hospitals due to the typhoon.
More than 300 people were stranded at the international airport after the cancellation of 460 flights.
Flag carrier Cathay Pacific said that it would resume operations from noon on Saturday after having suspended them the previous day.
Saola is not the only storm threatening China this weekend, as Haikui, a second Pacific typhoon, is expected to make landfall on Sunday in eastern China, south of the city of Wenzhou, the US Embassy in Beijing said in a weather alert.
Both southern and eastern China could experience strong winds, torrential rains, flooding, landslides and travel disruptions until Monday, the alert said. EFE