HONG KONG, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Hundreds of flights were canceled in China’s Guangdong province and Hong Kong as Super Typhoon Chawla moved closer to land on Friday, prompting authorities to issue a strong storm advisory and force businesses, schools and financial markets to close.
Three tropical cyclones have formed in the northwest Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, with Chaola and Haigui already named typhoons, while the farthest from land, Kirogi, is still classified as a tropical storm, according to weather forecasters.
Chayola has sustained winds of 200 km/h (125 mph) and is moving toward the eastern coast of Guangdong, the province that includes Hong Kong. Chinese authorities issued their highest typhoon warning on Thursday, saying it could be among the five strongest typhoons to hit Guangdong since 1949.
China’s National Meteorological Center said Chaola could make landfall as a severe typhoon Friday night or Saturday morning along the coast from Huidong to Taishan in Guangdong. Centrally located on the coast of Hong Kong and neighboring Macau.
With weather conditions likely to deteriorate rapidly as the typhoon makes landfall, the Hong Kong Observatory said it will consider the need to issue more typhoon warning signals between 6pm and 10pm on Friday.
Severe flooding is expected as water levels rise to about 3 meters (10 feet) above normal tide levels in some areas.
Hong Kong has five ratings for typhoons, 1, 3, 8, 9 and a maximum of 10, with signal 8 currently in effect.
All schools in Hong Kong were closed on Friday, although many had the first day off, the government said.
“We can see the eye of the typhoon pass very close to Hong Kong. I’m a bit worried and hope it won’t cause too many casualties,” said Wai Yi, 58, in the city’s eastern Heung Fa Soon area. .
Nearby cities Shenzhen and Guangzhou also closed schools, while technology hub Shenzhen went a step further, halting work, businesses and financial markets from Friday afternoon.
In Hong Kong on Thursday, fresh food markets in the Wan Chai district were crowded as many vegetables were already sold out. People waited in long queues at supermarkets ahead of the storm.
The city’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said all flights into and out of Hong Kong were canceled between 2pm (0600 GMT) on Friday and 10am (0200 GMT) on Saturday.
It said further flight delays and cancellations may be required based on the cyclone’s track on Saturday morning.
Zhuhai and Shenzhen airports canceled hundreds of flights as of 10:55 a.m. (0255 GMT) on Friday, data from Flight Master showed.
Guangdong authorities halted all trains in and out of the province from 8pm (1200 GMT) on Friday to 6pm (1000 GMT) on Saturday.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge connecting the three cities will be closed from 3:30 pm (0730 GMT) on Friday to ensure traffic safety, the local Southern Metropolis Daily reported, without specifying a date for the bridge’s reopening.
The Macau Meteorological Department said it will raise the wind warning level to signal 8 at 2pm on Friday. It said it could raise it to a maximum signal of 10 by early Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Haigui is approaching Taiwan and is expected to make landfall on the northern part of the island on Sunday toward the southeastern Chinese city of Fuzhou, according to Taiwan’s Central Meteorological Bureau.
The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong reported this
The official Wechat account said it had stopped external operations and replaced vulnerable products from the plant. Emergency personnel are on duty and all personnel and facilities on site are safe.
Reporting by Farah Master and Joyce Cho in Hong Kong, Bernard Orr, Ryan Wu, Ethan Wang and Beijing Newsroom in Beijing; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Raju Gopalakrishnan
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.