Typhoon Nida has swept across Southern China , with the city of Guangzhou issuing its first-ever red storm alert and Hong Kong braced for flooding and landslides.
Those living in the storm’s projected path on the mainland were told by the the National Commission for Disaster Reduction to prepare three days’ worth of food and other essentials, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
After making landfall near Hong Kong, the typhoon was expected to churn across the manufacturing centre of Guangdong province, gradually weakening as it moved into the neighbouring Guangxi region.
In Hong Kong, most of the financial hub was shut down, with gale-force winds disrupting hundreds of flights, while low-lying areas were put on flood alert.
More than 150 flights were cancelled, the Airport Authority said, with Cathay Pacific and Dragonair warning none of their flights would be operating until 2pm (1600 AEST) at the earliest. Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the airport and around 325 flights are expected to be rescheduled.
“I came here at 6am but the counters have closed… there have been no notifications at all,” one passenger bound for Australia told Now TV.
Ferry, tram and bus services were also suspended. Streets were largely deserted and shops were closed. There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.
Hong Kong authorities closed nursery schools and special needs learning institutions on Monday, while ferries between Hong Kong and the gambling strip of Cotai in Macau were suspended.
The bamboo scaffolding that is the hallmark of construction sites in the city hung in tatters around some buildings.
On the mainland, the cities of Zhuhai and Shanwei in Guangdong province issued red alerts – the highest in China’s four-tier colour coded warning system. Shenzhen issued a yellow one – the third most serious.
All work, production, and school classes in Guangzhou were suspended for the duration of the alert. Members of the public were advised to stay indoors, Xinhua reported.
Guangzhou Railway Corporation said all trains departing from Guangdong would be cancelled on Tuesday, with hundreds of thousands of passengers affected.
“It’s the strongest typhoon to hit the Pearl River Delta since 1983 and will bring severe flooding,” Xinhua cited local official He Guoqing as saying.
More than 220 flights out of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai airports were cancelled before the storm passed over Tuesday, the Sohu news portal said.
Nearly 2,000 workers constructing the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge were evacuated on Monday morning and more than 2,000 others working on an offshore oil platform were relocated on Sunday evening, Xinhua said.
Nida brought strong winds and torrential rains to the northern Philippines over the weekend, while southern China has already been hard-hit by storms this summer.
Super Typhoon Nepartak brought chaos to Taiwan in July and left at least 69 dead once it made landfall in the mainland’s eastern province of Fujian, despite having been downgraded to a tropical storm.