HONG KONG - AT LEAST 160,000 people were evacuated from southern China on Thursday as Typhoon Megi, one of the most powerful storms to hit the region in years, bore down, bringing with it the threat of devastation.

More than 150,000 people were evacuated in Fujian province in China's south-east and tens of thousands of fishing boats were called back to port, the official Xinhua news agency quoted flood control authorities as saying.

At least another 10,000 were evacuated in neighbouring Guangdong province, authorities there said, with forecasters predicting the storm would hit somewhere along China's southern coastline late on Friday or early Saturday.

The State Oceanic Administration issued a yellow storm surge warning, saying that Megi could cause a '50-year storm surge' if it landed as a severe typhoon.

'The storm surge could be so devastating that buildings, docks, villages and cities could be destroyed by it,' said Bai Yiping, director of South China Sea Forecasting Centre of the State Oceanic Administration.

Hong Kong shuttered oil terminals as the monster storm bore down. Megi, which has already killed at least 27 people in the Philippines, was showing 'signs of intensification", the Hong Kong Observatory said on Thursday.

160,000 evacuated in China