Storm warning downgraded to No 1 as Hong Kong escapes worst of Severe Tropical Storm Pakhar
Fast-moving storm caused fatal truck accident and more than 300 flights to be cancelled or delayed
The Hong Kong Observatory issued the No 1 storm signal on Sunday afternoon, downgrading its warning to the city after Severe Tropical Storm Pakhar made landfall in neighbouring Guangdong province earlier in the day.
The weather forecaster lowered its No 8 signal for Hong Kong at 1.40pm and replaced it with No 3, and downgraded it further at 5.40pm to a No 1 signal, as the city avoided a direct hit and further damage following Typhoon Hato’s destruction last week.
Rescuers in Hong Kong save 11 at sea and two on mountain while Severe Tropical Storm Pakhar batters city
Pakhar, named after a freshwater fish that lives in the lower Mekong River, made landfall at Taishan – a city some 77km west of Macau – at around 9am, Macau’s Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau said.
The fast-moving storm intensified, causing dozens in the city to seek medical treatment and leading to at least one fatality.
A light truck overturned on Yuen Long Highway near an access road to the Shenzhen Bay Bridge, when it was heading towards Tuen Mun before 7am Sunday.
Its driver was thrown from the vehicle and fell into a coma at the scene, police said. He was certified dead of a severe neck injury at Tuen Mun Hospital. Two passengers with minor injuries were sent to the hospital.
Superintendent Ho Tai-yin of New Territories North said the driver had his seat belt fastened when his truck crossed two lanes and crashed into a barrier. He added that police were investigating the truck’s speed and parts as well as the circumstances of the crash.
The death follows the destruction wrought by Typhoon Hato, which left 10 people dead in Macau and at least 244 people there injured.
The Hospital Authority said that, as of 11am, 51 people – 25 men and 26 women – aged between 22 and 83 had sought medical treatment at public hospitals in Hong Kong.
As of 11.10am, the Home Affairs Department had opened 27 temporary shelters in various districts across the city, with 231 people having sought refuge at the shelters.
The government call centre received 159 reports of fallen trees as of 11.55am.
The Drainage Services Department said it had received 13 reports of flooding as of noon and no reports of landslides.
The department called on the public to call its 24-hour hotline at 23000 1110 to report street flooding.
As of 11.30am Sunday, 300 flights had been cancelled or delayed and 30 flights had been diverted to other airports, an Airport Authority spokesman said.
The China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui was temporarily closed, the Marine Department said.
Ferry services across the Pearl River Delta were also suspended.
The centre lane of Stonecutters Bridge was closed due to strong winds. All vehicles taller than 1.5 metres and motorcycles were barred from using the bridge.
Shenzhen Bay Bridge, which connects Lau Fau Shan in the New Territories and Shenzhen, was also shut until further notice because of the weather.
MTR train services to the border were slowed after trees fell onto the tracks.
Services between Hung Hom and Lo Wu on the East Rail Line were running every 10 minutes.
Services were delayed due to a power failure at University station.
The flag-raising ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, which was to have taken place at 8am, was cancelled.
Pakhar had been forecast to move northwest at about 30 kilometres per hour and get closest to Hong Kong and Macau during the morning.
“There will be flooding in some low-lying and poorly drained areas,” the Observatory said. “People who are likely to be affected should take necessary precautions to reduce their exposure to risk posed by the heavy rain and flooding.”