Hong Kong Shuts Down for Megi

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Ports and oil terminals in Hong Kong and southern China shut down operations on Thursday, forcing tankers to anchor offshore to ride out one of the biggest typhoons to threaten the South China coast in years.

53,000 fishing vessels had returned to port, while on the tropical resort island of Hainan, vulnerable to heavy flooding, as many as 200,000 people had been evacuated from low-lying areas along with another 150,000 from the southeastern coastal province of Fujian, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Marine authorities say the typhoon could generate a huge and destructive “50-year storm surge” along the China coastline.

“The storm surge could be so devastating that buildings, docks, villages and cities could be destroyed by it,” Bai Yiping, director of South China Sea Forecasting Center of the State Oceanic Administration was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Typhoon Megi, which killed 19 people in the Philippines, looked set to make landfall on Saturday east of Hong Kong, one of the world’s most crowded cities and a key trade and finance hub.

“If we are hit directly it will cause a very serious impact to Hong Kong,” said Lai Tung-kwok, a security bureau official.

Cyclonic storms, known as typhoons in Asia, usually threaten between May and September when sea waters are at their warmest.

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