Typhoon Hato leaves 3 dead in Macau, devastates Hong Kong
Thousands evacuated from mainland coast
A powerful typhoon caused at least three deaths Wednesday in Macau, according to local authorities in the Chinese gambling enclave.
Three men, aged 30, 45 and 62, were killed in falls and accidents related to the heavy rain and gusting winds from Typhoon Hato, and two other people were listed as missing, Macau's Government Information Bureau said.
The typhoon came within 60 kilometres of the nearby financial centre of Hong Kong before heading westward into mainland China, where it was gradually weakening.
China's weather service said the storm made landfall around noon in the Pearl River Delta city of Zhuhai in the neighbouring province of Guangdong.
Thousands of people were evacuated from parts of the mainland coast ahead of the storm's arrival, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Train services were cancelled, fishing boats returned to harbor and more than 4,000 fish farmers and their families came to shore, Xinhua said. Waves up to 10 metres high were expected in the South China Sea.
Hato knocked out power in Macau, including at its famed casinos and a hospital, where backup generators kicked in.
Flooding and injuries were reported in Hong Kong, which lies across the water 64 kilometres from Macau, but there were no reports of deaths.
In Hong Kong, Hato forced the closure of businesses, government offices, schools and the stock market, leaving the city's normally bustling streets eerily quiet. Airlines canceled 450 flights and ferry operators halted commuter services and routes to Macau and cities in the delta.
Hato's fierce gales brought down trees, overturned trash cans and blew out windows on skyscrapers, raining shattered glass onto the streets below.
Weather authorities in Hong Kong raised the No. 10 hurricane signal, the highest level, for the first time in five years.
By midday, Hato was packing maximum sustained winds of 126 kilometres an hour, with gusts of up to 207 km/h on some outlying islands.
The No. 10 signal has only been hoisted 14 other times since 1946, or one for every 72 storms, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. The last time it went up was for Typhoon Vicente in 2012.
The observatory warned residents to be prepared for destructive winds, possible flooding and landslips, and advised people to stay away from low-lying areas because storm surges could cause severe flooding. Streets and village laneways in areas near the sea were submerged by waves crashing ashore, according to local TV news footage.