As the storm passed south of Hong Kong, trees were snapped in half and roads blocked, while some windows in tower blocks were smashed and skyscrapers swayed, as they are created to do in intense gales.
Videos shared on social media showed Hong Kong apartments with flooded basements, flooded sports stadiums and reams of office paper flying out into the air through punctured high rise office windows.
"As I recall, it's the first time the closure of the airport was announced way in advance", she noted, adding that the amount of preparation for this monster storm was quite impressive. "It made me feel so dizzy", said Elaine Wong, who lives in a high-rise tower in Kowloon, northern Hong Kong.
Water levels surged 3.5 m in some places, waves swamped roads and washed up live fish, washing into some residential blocks and a mall in an eastern district.
Bulldozers scooped up piles of dirt washed ashore by the flood on Lovers' Road, a famous scenic promenade along the coast lined with resorts and parks.
On Sunday morning, Mangkhut was barreling toward densely populated southern China and Hong Kong, where authorities raised the highest storm warnings and moved almost a half-million people to shelter from seven cities.
Both evacuations and emergency preparations in the area were rolled out for the nearly 11 million strong population, and many people were spared the crashing winds over the last few days.More news: Palestinian Teen Dies from Wounds in Gaza: Ministry
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The Observatory said yesterday afternoon that storm surges at Victoria Harbour and Tai O reached about 4m, while heavy rain caused severe flooding in low-lying areas across the island, including in rural New Territories, where villagers were forced to evacuate.
By 2 p.m., the typhoon, which was downgraded from a super typhoon to a severe typhoon, was centered about 62 miles south of Hong Kong and is expected to move westward toward mainland China.
In Macau, badly hit by a super typhoon past year, authorities were much more prepared this time, ordering casinos to close late on Saturday night as the storm approached.
The government and casinos have taken extra measures in recent times, determined to avoid a repeat of Typhoon Hato which battered Macau previous year, killing 12 people and drawing accusations it was ill prepared for a major storm. More than 500,000 people were affected by the typhoon, state television said. China sugar futures rose last week on fears for the cane crop.
The Shenzhen airport, shut since midnight, will be closed until 8:00 a.m. (2400 GMT) on Monday. Hundreds of flights were canceled.
High winds and swells have also hit Fujian province north of Guangdong, shutting ports, suspending ferry services and canceling more than 100 flights. Waves as high as 7.3 metres (24 ft) were sighted in the Taiwan Strait, Xinhua said.
Mangkhut will keep to a northwesterly track, bringing heavy rain and winds when it enters the autonomous region of Guangxi early on Monday, before weakening into a tropical depression as it arrives in southwestern Yunnan on Tuesday.