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China issues highest warning as Typhoon Saola approaches

August 31, 2023

The typhoon is headed toward the southeastern coastline and expected to hit Hong Kong, among other areas in the nearby Guangzhou province. Saola had already passed south of Taiwan, after lashing the Philippines.

A woman holds an umbrella in heavy rain after Typhoon Saola moves away in Taipei, Taiwan, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023.
The powerful typhoon is expected to make landfall in Hong Kong, after passing through TaiwanImage: Chiang Ying-ying/AP/picture alliance

Hong Kong and mainland China braced on Thursday for Typhoon Saola, which is expected to bring winds of over 200 kph (125 mph) as it heads to the southeastern coastline.

Beijing issued the highest typhoon warning, with state media saying at least 121 passenger trains were suspending services in anticipation. Train suspensions mostly affected key lines running from north to south, and they are due to stay until September 6.

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What do we know about Saola's projected landfall?

The typhoon is expected to make landfall along the coast in the province of Guangzhou to Hong Kong on the afternoon or night of Friday, China's National Meteorological Center said. The center forecasted it would be among the five strongest typhoons to land in Guangzhou since 1949.

The province's Shenzhen city prepared by suspending classes at nurseries, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and upgrading its typhoon warning level to yellow, the second lowest, as of 6 p.m. local time on Thursday.

Hong Kong also braced for the powerful typhoon. The city's leader, John Lee, requested various government departments to plan ahead and urged residents to take precautionary measures.

However, it is still unclear whether the new school year would begin on Friday, as previously planned for many students.

The Hong Kong Observatory urged residents to steer clear of water sports and coastal areas.

Where else has Saola passed?

The typhoon passed on Wednesday just south of Taiwan. It then made a turn to mainland China, hitting the island's southern cities with heavy rain and strong winds.

Earlier this week, Saola also hit the Philippines, yet with no reports of casualties so far. The country's north , however, suffered floods hitting low-lying villages, with some 50,000 displaced.

Some 100 houses were damaged. Seaports also suspended inter-city ferry services due to rough seas.

A man braves heavy showers and winds while evacuating his cattle as Typhoon Saola brushes past Ilagan City, Isabela Province, north of Manila on August 27, 2023.
Saola also hit the Philippines earlier this week, displacing tens of thousandsImage: STR/AFP via Getty Images

rmt/rt (AP, Reuters)