The government said Wednesday that it did not rule out the possibility that Super Typhoon Mangkhut that is making its way to the city would have an impact on Macao as large as last year’s deadly Super Typhoon Hato.
Tang Iu Man, acting vice-director of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG), gave the warning during a specially convened meeting, attended by officials from various government entities, in preparation for Tropical Storm Barijat and Super Typhoon Mangkhut.
In response to Mangkhut that is expected to hit Macao in a few days time, Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak, under the instructions of Chief Executive Chui Sai On, convened a special meeting Wednesday attended by representatives of all the 29 government entities, private organisations under the government’s civil protection structure and, as a observer, a high ranking officer from the People´s Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison in Macao.
The meeting took place at the Civil Protection Operations Centre – which is located in the Immigration Department Building in Pac On in Taipa.
Tropical Storm Barijat was moving away from Macao Wednesday night and heading towards the Leizhou Peninsula – the peninsula in the southernmost part of Guangdong that is north of Hainan province.
During the meeting, Tang said that Mangkhut have been moving on a westward trajectory over the last several days and was expected to cross the Bashi Channel between the Philippines and Taiwan. Tang said that Mangkhut was forecast to enter the South China Sea on Saturday based on its current trajectory before making landfall on the coast of Guangdong.
Tang said that Mangkhut is expected to enter the South China Sea as a strong typhoon or super typhoon, adding that the wind speed at the centre of Mangkhut currently exceeded 200 kilometres per hour.
Tang noted that there are still three or four days before Mangkhut is expected to make landfall on the coast of Guangdong, adding that the forecast error could be about 200 kilometres over the three or four days.
Tang said that if Mangkhut was to make landfall east of the Pearl River estuary, it would not have a large impact on Macao.
Tang warned that if Mangkhut was to make landfall west of the Pearl River estuary, it would have a very large impact on Macao. Tang said that if this situation was to occur, his bureau did not rule out the possibility that Mangkhut would cause damage to Macao as serious as last year’s Super Typhoon Hato.
Tang, who heads the Meteorological Division of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau, said that even if Mangkhut was to just move 200 kilometres away from Macao, his bureau would still need to hoist the No. 10 typhoon signal due to its strength and size. He said that if this situation was to occur, it would possibly result in severe flooding in the Inner Harbour area.
National Meteorological Centre of the China Meteorological Administration forecast earlier this week that Mangkhut would make landfall on the central coast of Guangdong on Sunday and that that its strength would possibility exceed Typhoon Jebi that pummelled the Kansai region of Japan early this month.
National Meteorological Centre forecast that Mangkhut would cause enormous damage to Guangdong and that it would have an impact as serious as last year’s Hato.
Super Typhoon Hato pummelled Macao on August 23, 2017, when it killed 10, injured 244 and resulted in massive flooding in the city’s low-lying areas.
Hato – the fiercest typhoon to have hit Macao since 1953 – resulted in financial losses officially estimated at 12.5 billion patacas.
Most households, offices and shops were without electricity and tap water following Hato’s onslaught. Tap water and electricity supplies were back to normal for most of the affected residents after several days. However, due to damaged equipment, water and power supplies to some buildings were only restored some time later. The Hato onslaught left many residents traumatised for weeks.
Wednesday, local residents rushed to stock up necessities such as drinking water and various other food items from supermarkets. Numerous supermarkets in the city were seen to have many empty shelves.
Queues had also formed outside bakeries and supermarkets in some areas of Macao late Wednesday.
Unitary Police Service (SPU) Commissioner-General Ma Io Kun told reporters on the sidelines of Wednesday’s civil protection meeting that the government has made good preparations in response to the upcoming Mangkhut.