Hong Kong, the bustling Asian financial hub, and China’s southern province of Guangdong are bracing for the impending arrival of Typhoon Saola, prompting the cancellation of numerous flights and the closure of businesses, schools, and financial markets in affected areas.
Typhoon Saola packs powerful winds exceeding 200 kph (125 mph) and is expected to make landfall in Guangdong either late on Friday or early on Saturday. Chinese authorities have cautioned that it could rank among the five strongest typhoons to hit this densely populated province since 1949.
Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, announced the cancellation of all flights departing from or arriving in Hong Kong between 2 p.m. (0600 GMT) on Friday and 10 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Saturday. This decision left over 300 passengers stranded at the airport due to the cancellation of approximately 460 flights, as reported by the Airport Authority.
Weather officials in Hong Kong have warned that conditions will deteriorate rapidly as Typhoon Saola approaches, with the potential for storm surges reaching around 3 meters (10 feet) higher than normal tide levels. They also noted that maximum water levels could reach a record high, raising the possibility of the city elevating its hurricane signal to the highest level from the current second-highest level, which is currently in effect.