Three people were killed and six were reported missing as Typhoon Vicente made landfall early yesterday morning in Guangdong Province just minutes after it hit neighboring Hong Kong, leaving dozens injured and bringing the financial hub's businesses to a standstill.
A citizen rides a bike while vehicles move against rainstorm on a street in Yangjiang, south China's Guangdong Province, July 24, 2012. Typhoon Vicente landed in Chixi Town of Taishan City in Guangdong early Tuesday.[ Photo / Xinhua ]
Vicente hit Hong Kong at 4am with wind speeds that reached around 140 kilometers per hour, moderating to 59kph.
The government said 118 people had been injured during the night, with 52 admitted to hospital. Flying debris struck several people in the central business district and subway stations were converted into temporary shelters to accommodate stranded passengers.
At daybreak, the normally bustling central district resembled a ghost town, with the stock market and major banks closed, and businesses shut.
Dozens of flights at Hong Kong airport were cancelled or delayed, and ferry services linking Hong Kong island with Kowloon, the New Territories and outlying islands suspended.
After smashing through Hong Kong, Vicente headed to Guangdong.
It made landfall in coastal areas in Guangdong's Taishan City at around 4:15am, with wind speeds of up to 144kph near its center, spawning torrential rain, the provincial meteorological station said. As of 5pm yesterday, Vicente had caused 305 million yuan (US$47.7 million) in direct economic losses in Taishan alone, according to the municipal flood control headquarters.
The typhoon is expected to move northwest but is weakening. Gales and downpours are expected to hit western Guangdong and the Pearl River Delta today and tomorrow.
High-speed train services between Guangzhou and Shenzhen have been temporarily halted, the Guangzhou Railway Group Corp said, and speeds on the Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed line reduced.
All shipping lines across the Qiongzhou Strait, between Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong and Hainan Island, have been closed since Sunday night.
More than 10 flights were delayed by four to six hours on average at Nanning Wuxu International Airport in Guangdong's neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region yesterday.
In Guangdong, more than 710,000 households had power blackouts. However, electricity was back on in 470,000 households by 6pm after 5,760 workers were sent to repair the facilities, China Southern Power Grid said.
The meteorological station in Haikou, Hainan's capital, issued a red storm alert yesterday, the highest level in China's four-tier warning system.
Thirty-two flights were canceled at the Phoenix International Airport in Hainan's Sanya as of yesterday morning.
Seas off the coast of Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan provinces are expected to experience waves of 3 to 5 meters in height, according to the National Maritime Forecast Station, which warned local authorities and the public to take precautionary measures.