Southern China battered as Typhoon Hato wreaks havoc
At least one person killed, flights cancelled and roads flooded as storm lashes coast
Typhoon Hato – the worst to hit the region this year – slammed into southern China on Wednesday, killing at least one person and causing flooding, power blackouts and damage to homes.
The China Meteorological Administration issued its first and highest red alert this year, along with a second ranked orange alert to warn of heavy rainstorms.
Flights and train services were suspended or delayed, while some cities closed down schools, factories and businesses in anticipation of the 17th typhoon to hit the mainland this year.
Mainland authorities had yet to provide information on Wednesday evening on the number of people killed and injured in the typhoon, but at least one man was known to have died in Zhongshan.
A video circulating on social media shows the man struggling against gale-force winds to keep a truck upright before the vehicle falls on top of him. Local authorities said he died at the scene.
Strong gales also felled trees, shattered windows, swept pedestrians off their feet and blew a construction crane from the top of an unfinished skyscraper on Hengqin Island in Zhuhai.
Huge waves battered the coastline, flooding piers, streets and some ground-floor homes.
Waves as high as 8.5 metres were recorded off the coast of Zhuhai, where the typhoon made landfall around lunchtime.
The region was lashed by heavy rainfall, with 10cm to 25cm per hour recorded in some southern parts of Guangdong and Guangxi.
The power supply was also disrupted in some areas. In Zhongshan, more than 15,000 households had their electricity cut off, while almost double that number were affected in Foshan. Power has since been restored to some areas.
In both Zhuhai and Shenzhen, factories, businesses and schools were closed and workers were told to stay home for the day. But on social media, many people in Guangdong said they went to work as normal despite the extreme weather.
Meanwhile, hundreds of flights were cancelled in Guangdong. Shenzhen was the worst hit, with some 270 flights leaving or arriving from its international airport cancelled. Zhuhai cancelled a total of 130 flights while Guangzhou cancelled 25 flights that were due to land at its airport.
Train services from Guangzhou to Hong Kong and Shenzhen were suspended until 4pm on Wednesday. The Guangdong section of services from Shenzhen to Xiamen and from Hong Kong to Beijing were also halted until 4pm.
A further 157 trains due to arrive in Guangdong from or through Guangxi were cancelled, as were other services within Guangdong province. Parts of the subway system in Shenzhen also halted operations.
More than 4,000 people had been evacuated from their homes in Guangdong by Tuesday night after China’s State Oceanic Administration issued a red alert for strong waves, Xinhua reported.
Additional reporting by Xinqi Su