Super Typhoon Mangkhut is expected to bring heavy rain and intense wind to Hong Kong on Sunday, as experts warn that it poses a considerable threat to southern China.

The tropical cyclone is the equivalent of a rare Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 240km per hour in the centre. Mangkhut is forecast to move in the general direction of the Phillippine island of Luzon on Thursday and Friday, entering the South China Sea on Saturday.

Leung Wing-mo from the Hong Kong Meteorological Society told HKFP that given the strength of the super typhoon, it is likely to adversely affect Hong Kong if it continues on its trajectory towards Guangdong: “It is a very strong typhoon. According to the forecast track, it’s going to maintain a super typhoon status for the rest of its journey to the South China Sea.”

Photo: Hong Kong Observatory.

“With a maximum wind speed of 240km per hour, this is an exceptional typhoon. It’s one of the strongest this year.”

But Leung added that given the distance and changing trajectory of Mangkhut, it is too early to assess how it will impact the city.

The Observatory said it will pose a considerable threat to the coast of Guangdong. “Although there are still uncertainties in its track, Mangkhut is expected to bring adverse weather to Hong Kong on Sunday with frequent squalls and heavy rain according to the present forecast track.”

Local residents have been advised to take precautionary measures and avoid water activities due to rough seas. A storm surge may cause flooding or a backflow of seawater to low-lying areas.

“If you have activities later on Saturday and on Sunday, please note that the severe weather may affect your plan,” the Observatory said. “Make appropriate contingency arrangements as soon as possible.”

Super Typhoon Mangkhut. Photo: Severe Weather Europe via Facebook.

The super typhoon is the strongest storm this year and has already sparked flooding in Guam. It threatens to hit heavily populated areas of the Phillippines and cause devastation; evacuations have been made in the southeast Asian country and emergency Red Cross workers are on standby.

According to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, up to 43.3 million people may be affected by Mangkhut.

September is peak typhoon season, with rising temperatures creating air moisture that is conducive towards tropical typhoon formation.

Last year, Super Typhoon Hato caused – a No.10 signal storm – hit Hong Kong, causing an estimated HK$4-8 billion loss and forcing over 450 flights to be cancelled.

Photo: Hong Kong Observatory.

Hong Kong can expect rainy conditions with sunny periods on Thursday, with temperatures reaching a maximum of 31 degrees Celsius. Hot weather is forecast on Saturday, with heavy rain expected throughout Sunday and Monday.

Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.