Manila: Super typhoon Mangkhut is expected to threaten China’s Guangdong coastline, possibly including Hong Kong, with a direct strike in a few days that may cause as much as $US120 billion ($139 billion) in damage and economic losses.
The world’s most powerful storm of the year ripped into the northern Philippines early on Saturday with winds of up to 269km/h. Measured by US standards it was a Category-5 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the US Navy and Air Force’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii. It’s forecast to cross the South China Sea and strike Guangdong by Sunday.
On that track it could cause $120 billion in damage, with China absorbing $100 billion – about $26 billion of that in Hong Kong alone, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia. In a worst case, the economic losses could reach 6.6 percent of the Philippines’ GDP, or more than $20 billion, he said.
“That is an ugly situation,” Watson said. “Any big storm going into the Hong Kong area, talk about a target-rich environment. That is just ugly.”
A direct hit on Hong Kong may cause $135 billion in economic impact and $230 billion for China overall, Watson said.