TUGUEGARAO, Philippines

Typhoon Mangkhut roared toward densely populated Hong Kong and southern China today after ravaging across the northern Philippines with ferocious winds and heavy rain that left at least 12 dead in landslides and collapsed houses.

The strongest storm so far this year in the world sliced across the northern tip of Luzon Island on Saturday, a breadbasket that is also a region of flood-prone rice plains and mountain provinces with a history of deadly landslides.

More than 5 million people were in the path of the typhoon, equivalent to a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane when it hit the Philippines. This morning, It packed sustained winds of 96 miles per hour and gusts of up to 118 mph.

China and the Philippines agreed to postpone a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that was to start today due to the typhoon’s onslaught, which caused nearly 150 flights, a third of them international, to be canceled and halted sea travel.

The Hong Kong Observatory said although Mangkhut had weakened slightly, its extensive, intense rainbands were bringing heavy downfall and frequent squalls. Storm surge of about 9.8 feet or above is expected at the city’s waterfront Victoria Harbour, the observatory said, appealing on the public to avoid the shoreline.

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