Typhoon Mangkhut has made landfall in southern China after lashing the northern Philippines.
Strong winds and heavy rain have left at least 64 people dead in the Philippines, while dozens more were feared buried in a landslide.
More than 2.4 million people had been evacuated in southern China’s Guangdong province by Sunday evening to flee the massive typhoon and nearly 50,000 fishing boats were called back to port, state media reported.
Hong Kong’s RTHK broadcaster cited experts as saying Mangkhut was expected to be the strongest typhoon to hit the city in decades. The Hong Kong Observatory issued its strongest storm warning for 10 hours on Sunday, just slightly shorter than the record time of 11 hours set by Typhoon York in 1999, the South China Morning Post reported.
The storm made landfall in the Guangdong city of Taishan at 5pm, packing wind speeds of 100 mph.
State broadcaster CGTN reported that surging waves flooded a seaside hotel in the city of Shenzhen.
Authorities in southern China issued a red alert, the most severe warning, as the national meteorological centre said the densely populated region would face a “severe test caused by wind and rain” and urged officials to prepare for possible disasters.
Hundreds of flights were canceled. All high-speed and some normal rail services in Guangdong and Hainan provinces were also halted, the China Railway Guangzhou Group Co said.
The storm broke windows, felled trees, tore bamboo scaffolding off buildings under construction and flooded areas with sometimes waist-high waters, according to the South China Morning Post. The paper said the heavy rains brought storm surges of 3m (10ft) around Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Security Minister John Lee Ka-chiu urged residents to prepare for the worst.
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific said all of its flights would be canceled between 2.30am on Sunday and 4am on Monday. The city of Shenzhen also cancelled all flights between Sunday and early Monday morning. Hainan Airlines cancelled 234 flights in the cities of Haikou, Sanya, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai scheduled over the weekend.
In Macau’s inner harbour district, the water level reached 1.5m (5f) on Sunday and was expected to rise further. The district was one of the most affected by floods from Typhoon Hato, which left 10 people dead.