Typhoon lashes Hong Kong, wounds scores

Typhoon lashes Hong Kong, wounds scores

HONG KONG - Agence France-Presse
Typhoon lashes Hong Kong, wounds scores

A man reacts while walking past an uprooted tree after Typhoon Vicente hit Hong Kong, disrupting business, with offices and the stock market set to remain closed. REUTERS photo

Fifty people were injured and trees were ripped from the ground as a typhoon lashed Hong Kong, packing winds in excess of 140 kilometers an hour, officials said yesterday.

Authorities raised the typhoon warning to the most severe level of 10 for the first time since 1999 just after midnight, as Typhoon Vicente roared to within 100 kilometers of Hong Kong but it was eventually downgraded to eight.

More than 200 trees fell and pieces of buildings were seen crashing into downtown streets as commuters made their way home from work on July 23 evening. Ferry, bus and train services were suspended or ran at reduced capacity, the port was closed and 15 passenger flights to the regional aviation hub were canceled. More than 210 flights were delayed. The Hong Kong stock exchange delayed the opening of trading yesterday until authorities gave the all-clear that it was safe to go to work.

School classes and hospital outpatient clinics were suspended until further notice. Flooding was reported in two areas. Fifteen people were hospitalized out of 50 who sought medical treatment, officials said. Almost 250 people sought refuge in storm shelters. Local media reported that more than 100 commuters stayed in the Tai Wai underground train station overnight.

The 10 warning was downgraded to eight early yesterday morning as the storm passed to the west and weakened over the southern Chinese coast, but authorities warned residents to remain vigilant.