By Feliz Solomon and Eli Meixler
Updated: September 17, 2018 3:56 AM ET | Originally published: September 16, 2018

The biggest storm of the year lashed the southern coast of China Sunday, whipping the seas and shuttering cities throughout a two-day trail of destruction that claimed dozens of lives in the northern Philippines and sideswiped the semiautonomous region of Hong Kong.

The 550-mile wide Typhoon Mangkhut, a name that means mangosteen fruit in Thai language, made landfall in the city of Zanjiang in China’s Guangdong province just after 5 p.m. local time with winds around 100 miles per hour, roughly the strength of a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It hit the Philippines with the force of a Category 5.

Read more: Typhoon Mangkhut Barrels Toward China After Lashing the Northern Philippines

In Hong Kong, tape stretched hurriedly across windows was no match for ferocious winds that slammed against the city’s skyscrapers and burst through glass doors in hotel lobbies. The densely populated city turned into a ghost town as residents shut themselves indoors after emptying the shelves of supermarkets.

Rooftops were torn off some low-lying buildings as the strongest storm to hit the territory in six decades brushed past. A viral video appeared to show the side of a high-rise coming loose and tumbling to the ground. Storm surges were filmed crashing at the feet of skyscrapers and flinging debris through otherwise emptied streets.

A woman runs in the rainstorm as Typhoon Mangkhut approaches Shenzhen, China on Sept. 16, 2018.
Jason Lee—Reuters

The damage in China is still unclear, but more than two million people have reportedly been evacuated from the port city and surrounding areas in Mangkhut’s path. The storm weakened considerably after its powerful assault on the Philippines’ island of Luzon, where at least 65 have died and more than 150,000 were displaced.

Aerial shot of flooded rice and corn fields due to heavy rains brought about by Typhoon Mangkhut near Alcala, Cagayan province, on Sept. 16, 2018.
Ted Aljibe—AFP/Getty Images
Residents inspect their damaged property in Alcala, Philippines on Sept. 15, 2018.
Jes Aznar—Getty Images
Residents spent the night in an evacuation center in Gonzaga, Philippines on Sept. 15, 2018.
Jes Aznar—Getty Images
A scene of damaged crops following Typhoon Mangkhut in Alcala, Philippines on Sept. 15, 2018.
Jes Aznar—Getty Images
A father carries his sick child as it is being transferred to another car after their ambulance is stuck on a highway by toppled electric posts caused by strong winds after Typhoon Mangkhut hit Baggao town in Cagayan province, north of Manila on Sept. 15, 2018.
Ted Aljibe—AFP/Getty Images

Most of the fatalities were caused by landslides and collapsed buildings. The Cagayan Valley, an agricultural area where villagers mostly grow rice and corn, has been devastated by floodwaters and winds reducing homes and shops to rubble. Felled trees, power cuts and damaged roads have delayed assistance to some of the poor and remote areas hardest hit.

The Philippines is no stranger to dangerous Pacific storms. In 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the country when it tore straight through its center and claimed more than 6,300 lives.

Write to Feliz Solomon at feliz.solomon@time.com and Eli Meixler at eli.meixler@time.com.

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