Severe Typhoon Hato hits Hong Kong

The weather observatory raised the storm warning to the city's maximum Typhoon 10 signal for the first time in five years as Hato approached.

Severe Typhoon Hato hits Hong Kong

World Bulletin / News Desk

Typhoon Hato smashed into Hong Kong Wednesday with hurricane force winds and heavy rains in the worst storm the city has seen for five years, shutting down the stock market and forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

It was only the third time the Typhoon 10 warning has been issued since 1997, when the former British colony was handed over to China.

The storm passed as close as 60 kilometres (37 miles) to Hong Kong and made landfall at noon (0400 GMT) in the southern mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai.

Thousands of people were evacuated Tuesday in parts of south China in preparation for the typhoon's arrival, the official Xinhua news agency said.

In Hong Kong, the storm sent metres-high waves crashing into shorelines with flooding knee deep in some areas. 

Gusts of up to 207 kilometres per hour brought flying debris, tearing down trees and scaffolding and breaking construction cranes. Shops and homes taped up their windows to protect them from shattering but a number of panes from office building skyscrapers were smashed. 

Fallen trees cut off roads to parts of the territory, with the city's popular Victoria Park covered in a mass of strewn branches.

"I was on my balcony in the village of Yuen Long when a tree literally flew past my house," said Dave Coulson from the rural northwestern New Territories, who added he was having frequent power cuts. 

Normally packed streets were eerily empty as the storm reached its height, aside from a few who tried to battle through the winds.

Some ventured out with cameras to snap and video the typhoon. 

One Lohas Park resident had brought his young daughter down to experience the weather.

"I came down here to feel the winds," he told AFP. 

The government said 34 people had gone to hospital seeking medical treatment related to the typhoon. Around 280 people were taking refuge in temporary shelters.

Hong Kong's flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said almost all its flights leaving before 5:00pm (0900 GMT) Wednesday would be cancelled, with Hong Kong Airlines following suit. 

Authorities said 450 flights had already been cancelled by late morning.

Ferries were suspended as was the city's airport express train line, while the metro rail and buses operated on a limited service.

As the storm moved on, the observatory lowered the warning signal to a Typhoon 8 in the afternoon.

Last Mod: 23 Ağustos 2017, 10:56
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