Typhoon Saola Triggers Top-Level Alert as it Approaches Southeast China
China has raised its highest-level typhoon warning due to the imminent threat of Super Typhoon Saola. With wind speeds exceeding 200 kph (125 mph), the typhoon is bearing down on the southeastern coast, posing risks to Hong Kong and prominent manufacturing centers in the nearby Guangdong province.
The Chinese meteorological authorities issued a red warning for the typhoon at 6 a.m. (2200 GMT). The National Meteorological Centre of China outlined Saola's trajectory, indicating that it is currently positioned approximately 315 km (183 miles) southeast of Guangdong province. The typhoon is anticipated to travel northwest across the expanse of the South China Sea at an approximate speed of 10 kph (6 mph). As it gradually approaches the coast of Guangdong, its intensity is expected to diminish.
As of noon (0400 GMT), wind speeds had reached 209 kph (130 mph). According to forecasts from the meteorological center, Saola is predicted to make landfall along the coastline spanning from Huilai County in Guangdong to Hong Kong. This is projected to occur sometime between the afternoon and night of September 1st. Given the projected strength of the typhoon, it could rank among the five most potent typhoons to hit Guangdong since 1949.
In preparation for the impending typhoon, Hong Kong's government announced the elevation of the strong wind signal to No.8. This measure is set to be in effect between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on the upcoming Friday. Consequently, numerous businesses, including the stock exchange, will remain closed during this period. Despite the first day of the school term for many, all schools will be closed on Friday.
As the threat of Saola looms, residents of Hong Kong have engaged in preparation activities, resulting in sold-out fresh food markets and lengthy queues at supermarkets. The Hong Kong Observatory predicts heavy rainfall and forceful winds. Additionally, the water level in the city is expected to rise significantly until Saturday, potentially leading to severe flooding.
With Saola drawing nearer, the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province announced an elevation of its typhoon warning level to yellow, the second-lowest level. As a precaution, classes at nurseries, kindergartens, primary, and secondary schools in Shenzhen were suspended. Furthermore, Shenzhen's Baoan Airport ceased all flight operations from midday Friday, with plans to resume services once conditions become safe.
To minimize potential damages, China Southern Power Grid is intensifying inspections of equipment and fortifying measures to prevent water leakage in basement power facilities. Similarly, China Railway has suspended several significant train lines, and trains headed to Guangdong from Shanghai have been halted.
Weather officials anticipate heavy rainfall until 8 a.m. (0000 GMT) on Friday, particularly in parts of Fujian and Guangdong. Some areas could experience downpours ranging from 100 to 220 mm (3.9 to 8.7 inches).