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article imageMangkhut barrels toward Hong Kong after devastating Philippines

By Karen Graham     Sep 15, 2018 in Environment
Hong Kong - The strongest storm on Earth in 2018 barreled through the northern Philippines before dawn on Saturday, leaving destruction and death in its wake. Now Mangkhut is on a collision course with Hong Kong and on a direct path with two nuclear power plants.
Mangkhut lost a little of its strength when it reached Luzon's mountainous coastline early Saturday morning, even though it was still packing the winds of a Category 4 tropical cyclone on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale, according to ABC News.
Mangkhut's tropical storm-force winds extended 550 miles (885 kilometers) across, according to the country's weather agency, making it nearly double the size of Hurricane Florence when it made landfall in North Carolina on Friday. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center said Mangkhut's winds produced waves nearly 30 feet (9.1 meters) high.
After killing 16 people, tearing off roofs, felling trees, triggering 42 landslides, destroying homes and businesses and causing extensive flooding, Mangkhut left the Southeast Asian archipelago and turned toward southern China.
Signal No 9 raised in Hong Kong
Hong Kong has been preparing for a possible Signal 10 Typhoon Mangkhut and waves of up to 14 meters (46 feet). The No 9 signal was issued at 7.40 am local time on Sunday as Severe Typhoon Mangkhut came within striking distance, threatening a total shutdown of the city. Flights have been canceled, villagers evacuated from low-lying areas, and government departments have activated their emergency response plans.
Senior science officer Lee Suk-ming said this typhoon is expected to be more severe than the devastation delivered last year by Hato, the last signal 10 Typhoon to hit Hong Kong.
“We expect huge waves and surge on the sea … and severe flooding in low-lying areas,” said Lee on Sunday morning, adding a special warning from the Observatory urging the public to stay away from the waterfront.
The Global Disaster Alert and co-ordination System (GDACS) said it expected a “high humanitarian impact based on the storm strength and the affected population in the past and forecasted path” of destruction. As many as 43 million people are at risk from the storm.
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Hong Kong Observatory
Two nuclear power plants in the projected path
The South China Morning Post (SCMP) is reporting that with Mangkhut "forecast to make landfall over the west of mainland China’s Guangdong province, two nuclear power plants in the projected path of the super typhoon were 'in combat readiness' to respond to any emergency."
The Yanjiang Nuclear Power Station, just 230 kilometers (755 miles) west of Hong Kong, has five generating stations - which have all been secured - and the facility is on high alert.
At the Taishan plant, which is about 135 kilometers (85 miles) from Hong Kong, officials said via WeChat that the facility had discussed how best to deal with the approaching storm and specialist workers had conducted safety investigations. “All emergency personnel are at their posts and have conducted their preparatory work. The Taishan plant is fully prepared for the typhoon, and everything is in its place,” the message said.
More about mangkhut, Hong Kong, category 5, Nuclear power plants, state of emergency
 
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