Hong Kong: Highest typhoon signal hoisted as storm disrupts hundreds of flights
The Hong Kong Observatory has hoisted typhoon signal Number 10 — the highest in the city’s storm warning system — after Typhoon Hato hit the city early on 23 August and caused significant travel and commercial disruption. It is only the 15th Number 10 signal to be hoisted in Hong Kong since 1946, and the storm is considered the strongest to hit the city since 2012. Winds of 155 kmph were recorded and some residential areas suffered minor infrastructural damage from flying branches nad roof screens. The authorities have warned that high tides and storm surge of up to five metres could cause flooding in low-lying areas, and there were already reports of flooding in the city’s Heng Fa Chuen area by mid-morning.
The city’s MTR metro rail is suspended on several outdoor lines, though underground trains have continued to run. All Airport Express services between the city and Hong Kong International Airport are suspended, and at least 320 flights operated by Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and Hong Kong Airlines have been cancelled. Almost all daytime bus services are also suspended, forcing all non-essential travel to be halted. Most businesses and government buildings, and all schools, are closed for the day, while the Hong Kong stock exchange suspended trading. The storm will be at its strongest in Hong Kong towards the middle of the afternoon on 23 August, before making landfall in nearby Guangdong, on mainland China. Hong Kong and southern China are expected to see heavy rains for the coming days.