More than 30,000 people were evacuated from their homes and moved to higher ground and 4,500 houses destroyed as Typhoon Imbudo swept through Yangjiang city, government officials said yesterday. The typhoon, packing winds up to 165km/h, hit Yangjiang after midnight - the strongest gale to hit the city after Typhoon Sally swept through in 1996. Broken signboards and debris littered the deserted streets of Yangjiang yesterday, while half of the city was flooded. 'It has been raining heavily non-stop since last night. Nobody dares to go out,' said the manager of the Jingpeng Hotel, in downtown Yangjiang city. 'Many of my staff called me this morning and said they couldn't come to work. 'A lot of countryside houses were flattened. Most of the guests left after hearing the typhoon was coming. Those who stayed behind are now stranded here.' Tour operator Yu Qingjie's business was disrupted by the typhoon. 'This must be the strongest typhoon we have had in the past four or five years. No tourists will come. I think I can take a few days off,' said Mr Yu. 'Nobody is in the street. Classes have been suspended and very few shops are still open. 'Broken signboards are everywhere. This morning, when I came out from my home on a motorbike, the wind hit me so hard I was forced to slow down to walking speed. Trees on both sides of the road have been uprooted.'' A spokesman for the city's flood-control office said the typhoon capsized about 60 boats and it was fortunate that no one was injured. She said the storm caused more than 560 million yuan (HK$528 million) in economic losses in Yangjiang alone. 'The countryside houses are built from mud bricks and can't stand heavy storms. I saw several houses with their roofs ripped off,' said Yang Weiting, a telecommunication worker in Yangdong. Imbudo also brought a record amount of rain in the northern part of Hainan island. A spokesman for the flood-control office in Haikou, the provincial capital, said some parts of the city recorded 325mm of rainfall from 8pm on Wednesday to 3pm yesterday.