Super Typhoon Usagi heads to Hong Kong

 

A powerful typhoon has swept through the Luzon Strait separating the Philippines and Taiwan today, as heavy winds and rain continued to batter island communities and the storm headed straight for Hong Kong.

Typhoon Usagi has already triggered landslides and power outages in parts of the north of the Philippines, including the Batanes island group, where it made landfall today.

In Taiwan, nearly 2,500 people have been evacuated from flood-prone areas and remote mountainous regions as the government deployed military personnel into potential disaster zones.

The storm is the most powerful meteorologists have see this year, holding sustained winds of 139 miles per hour and gusts exceeding 163 mph on Saturday.

It is 342 miles south of Taipei, Taiwan's capital, according to the US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said Usagi was veering west, likely sparing southern Taiwan from the most destructive winds near its eye.

But gusts exceeding 144 mph were recorded on the Taiwan island of Lanyu, and the bureau warned that dangerous winds were buffeting the holiday resort of Kending on the Hengchun peninsula as the storm makes its closest approach to the area.

The government's weather bureau advised storm surges and heavy waves could cause damage in the Batanes and other islands in the Luzon Strait before Usagi blows past the Philippines on Saturday night.

China's National Meteorological Center announced a red alert, its highest level, as the storm maintained its track toward Hong Kong and the manufacturing heartland of the Pearl River Delta. The observatory warned that Usagi would impact coastal areas of Guangdong, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.

A woman and her child hold their umbrellas tight against powerful gusts of wind as typhoon Usagi approaches in Taipei, Taiwan

The Hong Kong Observatory said Saturday night that Usagi was 570 kilometers (354 miles) east-southeast of the city. It said the storm's maximum sustained winds would weaken to 165 kph (103 mph) as it approaches Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon before making landfall overnight. The observatory was maintaining a No. 1 Standby Signal and warned that the storm posed a "severe threat" to the city. 
 

The storm system has dropped more than eight inches of rain along the eastern and southern coasts in a 13-hour period, with officials warning that a total rainfall of 39 inches could fall before the storm leaves on Sunday.

The cyclone a massive diameter of 680 miles, with its outer rain bands extending across Luzon and all of Taiwan across to the Chinese coast.

Fishermen ride on their boat as dark clouds loom over the city brought by Super Typhoon Usagi in Navotas City

The Office of Civil Defense in Manila said landslides destroyed houses and roads, and caused power cuts in pockets of at least five northern provinces, where several roads and bridges were impassable.

Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair announced flights Saturday were unaffected except for one canceled journey, but both airlines said flights to and from Hong Kong International Airport would be canceled from 6 p.m. Sunday and resume Monday if conditions permit. Passengers were urged to postpone nonessential travel on those two days.

Super Typhoon Usagi heads west-northwest on September 20

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower