What you need to know about the twin typhoons terrorizing Asia
YESTERDAY, Typhoon Barijat swept parts of Macau, Hong Kong, and Guangdong in China.
The regions were prepared for it, halting shipping and suspending classes at kindergartens and schools for children with disabilities, and evacuating around 12,000 people. But it seems it came and left in barely a whimper compared to what is coming.
Apart from gloomy skies and strong winds, there was no huge downpour. Typhoon Barijat caused no damage or significant disruption.
However, another storm is brewing. More emergency alerts have already been issued and evacuations have been ordered in preparation for this one.
Here is what you need to know about Typhoon Mangkhut, a classified super typhoon that is currently heading towards the South China Sea.
Typhoon Mangkhut, named after the Thai word for mangosteen (a tropical fruit), has been categorized as a super typhoon with powerful winds and gusts equivalent to a category 5 Atlantic hurricane by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.
It has already passed Guam island, leaving behind flooded streets, downed trees, and widespread power outages (80 percent of the territory).
Power has since been restored and government agencies are conducting damage assessments and clearing roads.
As Typhoon Mangkhut moves, it will get stronger, because the more time a typhoon spends above water, the more energy it sucks in. It is said to be on track to be as strong as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,000 people dead and missing in the Philippines in 2013.
Currently, it has sustained winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 255 kilometers per hour, according to AFP.
Said to be the most powerful typhoon to bear down on the Philippines this year, it is now on course to hit the country’s northeastern Cagayan province early Sept 15, 2018.
An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty, AFP reported.
Mangkhut is the 15th storm this year to batter the Philippines.
With a massive raincloud band 900 kilometers wide, combined with seasonal monsoon rains, Typhoon Mangkhut could bring heavy to intense rains that could set off landslides and flash floods.
More than four million people live in areas at most risk from the storm.
Philippine authorities are evacuating thousands of people from Typhoon Mangkhut’s path, closing schools, readying bulldozers for landslides, and placing rescuers and troops on full alert in the country’s north.
According to Cagayan governor Manuel Mamba, Typhoon Mangkhut is coming at the start of the rice and corn harvesting season in Cagayan, a major agricultural producer, and farmers were scrambling to save what they could of their crops.
Sea and air travel have also been restricted on Luzon island, which sits at the northern end of the Philippines, due to storm warnings.
The Hong Kong Observatory has predicted that Typhoon Mangkhut, although in weakened form, will batter south of Hong Kong and north of Hainan island early Monday morning after the Philippines.
It will still be packing sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour, therefore capable enough to cause rough seas and constant heavy squalls.
Thus, Hong Kong’s densely populated financial hub have been advised to “take suitable precautions and pay close attention to the latest information” on the storm.
Meanwhile, three southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan are coordinating preparations, including suspending transport and moving people to shelter inland.
The Guangdong cities of Zhanjiang and Maoming have been suspended, and all ferry services between the Guangdong and Hainan have been put on hold. Fujian province to the north of Guangdong is also closing beaches and tourist sites.
To make it through a typhoon, stock up on food, water, batteries, and the necessary first-aid or medical supplies. Make sure your power banks and mobile phones are charged up.
During a typhoon, stay indoors, keep calm, and monitor TV and radio reports.
If you have to be outside, avoid low-lying areas, riverbanks, creeks, and coastal areas. A heavy downpour can trigger landslides as well to steer clear of cliffs and foothill.
Definitely do not wade through flooded areas as there may be submerged outlets or electrical cords which could electrocute you.