World

Typhoon Hato leaves 4 dead in Hong Kong, Macau

HONG KONG Typhoon Hato, a maximum category 10 storm, slammed into Hong Kong yesterday, killing at least one man and lashing the Asian financial hub with destructive winds and waves that uprooted trees, flooded streets and forced most businesses to close.

The storm also hit neighbouring Macau, leaving at least three men dead there.

In total, 420 flights were cancelled, financial markets suspended and schools closed as Hato bore down on the city, the first category 10 storm to hit Hong Kong in five years.

Many skyscrapers in the financial centre were empty as the city's workers stayed at home.

Hato churned up Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour and triggered large swells and massive waves on some of the city's most popular beaches, with serious flooding in low-lying areas.

In residential districts like Heng Fa Chuen, massive waves smashed against the sides of oceanfront buildings and surged over a promenade, swamping vehicles parked nearby.

Construction cranes swayed precipitously from the tops of skyscrapers, trees toppled and residents used canoes to get around on some streets.

"I have never seen one like this," said Mr Garrett Quigley, a long-time resident of Lantau Island, to the west of the city. "Cars are half submerged, roads impassable with flooding and huge trees down. It is crazy."

Maximum winds near Hato's centre were recorded at a destructive 155kmh.

A senior scientific officer for the Hong Kong observatory said sea levels could rise up to 5m in some places, with the government issuing flood alerts and opening 27 temporary shelters across the city.

Other transport services, including ferries to the gaming hub of Macau and outlying islands in Hong Kong, were suspended. - REUTERS

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