Super Typhoon Mangkhut is a deadly tropical storm wreaking havoc in South East Asia. It is devastating the Asian countries at the same time when Hurricane Florence is dumping sheets of rain and flooding the Carolinas in the US.
The name Mangkhut is a Thai word for the fruit mangosteen. In the Philippines, the typhoon is locally known as Ompong.
Though Typhoon Mangkhut has now been downgraded, experts say Mangkhut may well end up being a deadly storm as it has already claimed over 60 lives with more than dozens missing. The typhoon is expected to further weaken into a tropical depression by Tuesday.
While major tropical cyclones are called Hurricane in the Pacific east, on the Pacific west of the International Date Line, these cyclones are called typhoons.
Since the water in the western Pacific is warmer, and warm water fuels storms. Storms are more likely in the Southeast Asian region.
Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall Friday on the northeastern tip of Luzon island in the Philippines with the top of the scale Category 5 winds of 165 mph.
“In terms of strength, Typhoon Mangkhut is the strongest tropical cyclone of the year,” the World Meteorological Organization said, reported BBC.
While Hong Kong raised the highest alert for the storm, China raised a yellow, level 2 alert, on its four-level scale.
Mangkhut has swept over Hong Kong and Macau and on into China’s southeast province of Guangdong, after devastating the Philippines, where the toll is likely to surpass 50.
Parts of Hong Kong and Macau were severely flooded, though there were no immediate reports of fatalities. China Central Television, the state broadcaster, said four people had been killed in Guangdong, China’s most populous province of over 100 million residents, Reuters reported.
More than 2.4 million people were evacuated from China’s southern Guangdong province ahead of the massive typhoon, the strongest to hit the region in nearly two decades.
The Hong Kong Observatory reported Mangkhut was the most powerful cyclone to hit the city since 1979, packing maximum sustained gusts of 195 kilometres per hour (121 mph).
The deadliest storm on record in the Philippines was Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which also sparked category four alerts. It killed more than 7,000 people and affected millions.