By Thai Newsroom and AP, published by ABC News
THAILAND is not directly affected by the powerful tropical storm Ma-on which is gaining strength as it heads for Hong Kong and other parts of southeastern China today (August 24) after displacing thousands in the Philippines, the Thai Meteorological Department said this evening.
In its announcement issued at 5 p.m. the Thai weather experts said Ma-on is currently centred about 310 kilometres southeast of Macau. The maximum wind speed near the centre is 110 km an hour and it is moving westwards at a speed of 30 km an hour.
It is expected to reach southern China tomorrow and will after that weaken to a depression then a low pressure cell.
While this severe tropical storm does not directly affect Thailand people are urged to follow further announcements and can follow developments at http://www.tmd.go.th or call 0-2399-4012-13 and 1182 twenty-four hours a day.
Meanwhile several cities in Guangdong province suspended high-speed rail and ferry service and evacuated workers on offshore projects. The airport in Shenzhen, a Chinese tech centre that borders Hong Kong, cancelled all flights from 3 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday.
The Hong Kong Observatory raised its No. 8 signal on Wednesday evening, warning that winds with mean speeds of 63 km per hour or more were expected. A No. 8 signal is typically raised when a gale or storm is expected to hit Hong Kong.
The observatory also warned of flooding in low-lying areas and advised people to stay away from the shoreline, though Ma-on is not forecast to make a direct impact on the southern Chinese financial hub with its population of 7.4 million.
The storm is expected to make landfall around noon Thursday on the coast of Guangdong, about 200 km (120 miles) southwest of Hong Kong, and weaken as it moves inland toward the Guangxi region, Yunnan province and northern Vietnam, China’s National Meteorological Centre said on its website.
The storm’s arrival comes as many parts of central and western China are facing severe drought brought on by temperatures that broke records for August, withering crops and endangering drinking water supplies.
In the key agricultural province of Sichuan, cloud seeding is being used to try to promote rainfall. Hydropower plants that generate around 80% of the province’s electricity have operated at far-reduced capacity, forcing rolling brownouts and the cutting of factory work hours.
Ma-on weakened slightly after barreling across mountainous northern provinces in the Philippines, where at least three people were left injured by trees knocked down by the high winds. Classes were suspended and government offices closed in the capital Manila.
Top: In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, rescuers help residents move to safer grounds in Tuguegarao, Cagayan province, northern Philippines on Tuesday Aug. 23, 2022. Photo: Philippine Coast Guard via AP and published by ABC News
Insert: A map showing the direction of tropical storm Ma-on created by South China Morning Post with information from Hong Kong Observatory.