Hong Kong braces for arrival of powerful typhoon

HONG KONG (AP) — The year’s most powerful typhoon has Hong Kong in its crosshairs after sweeping past the Philippines and Taiwan and pummeling island communities with torrential winds and fierce winds.

Typhoon Usagi is grinding westward and expected to make landfall close to Hong Kong late Sunday or early Monday. Forecasters warn the storm poses a “severe threat” to the southern Chinese city.

The typhoon passed on Saturday through the Luzon Strait separating the Philippines and Taiwan, likely sparing residents in both places from the most destructive winds near its eye. In the Philippines, Usagi left at least two dead and two others missing while in Taiwan nine people were hurt by falling trees on Kinmen island.

Usagi was downgraded from a super typhoon on Saturday after sustained winds fell below 150 miles per hour.

By Sunday morning it was about 230 miles east of Hong Kong and moving west at 12 mph.

The Hong Kong Observatory says the storm would retain maximum sustained winds of 88 mph at 5 a.m. Monday after making landfall overnight.

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