The typhoon has been gaining in strength over the South China sea after hurtling through the Philippines, where its trail of devastation killed at least seven.
Authorities hoisted the highest No. 10 tropical cyclone signal at 9:40 a.m. (0140 GMT), warning residents to be mindful of safety and to avoid waterfront areas. In spite of the warnings, both residents and tourists were venturing out to waterfront areas to see the witness the typhoon.
Mangkhut is considered the strongest storm to hit the region this year, packing gale force winds of more than 200 kph (125 mph), equivalent to a maximum Category 5 “intense hurricane” in the Atlantic.
Mangkhut, the Thai name for Southeast Asia’s mangosteen fruit, was expected to skirt 100 km (62 miles) south of Hong Kong and veer west towards the coast of China’s Guangdong province, and the gaming center of Macau later in the day.