Typhoon Utor: Hong Kong hunkers down as deadly typhoon passes

As typhoon Utor approached, Hong Kong closed offices, schools, and transportation services; shut down the stock market; and canceled or delayed 200 flights. Utor was this year's strongest typhoon before it crossed the Philippines earlier this week, where it left at least six dead.

Kin Cheung/AP
Clouds hang low over the city of Hong Kong, seen from the Victoria Peak, Tuesday, Aug. 13. Experts say typhoon Utor is intensifying slightly as it moves towards the western coast of Guangdong. The typhoon battered the northern Philippines on Monday, toppling power lines and dumping heavy rain across cities and food-growing plains.

Hong Kong closed offices, schools and transportation services and the stock market was halted on Wednesday morning as a typhoon passed by the Asian financial center.

Dozens of flights were canceled and bus and ferry services were curtailed as typhoon Utor approached.

Winds gusted up to 139 kph (86 mph). The center of the storm was about expected to skirt around 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of Hong Kong before hitting southern China's Guangdong province.

Utor was centered about 260 kilometers from Hong Kong at 10 a.m. local time and was moving northwest at about 16 kph, forecasters said. The storm brought gale-force winds, rough seas and squally showers.

One person in Hong Kong was reported injured.

Some 94 flights arriving at or leaving from the city's airport are canceled while another 107 flights have been delayed.

Along the coast of Guangdong, authorities were calling fishing boats back to port and securing buildings and equipment at aquaculture farms. The storm was expected to make landfall near the city of Maoming in the afternoon before traveling northwest into Guangxi province.

Some flights and train service was suspended on the island province of Hainan to the south. Almost 2,000 passengers were stranded Tuesday at the airport serving the resort city of Sanya.

Utor was this year's strongest typhoon globally before it crossed the Philippines earlier this week, leaving at least six dead.

One woman in northeastern Isabela province was captured on camera being swept away by a raging river. Her body was found later.

Rescuers were still struggling to reach at least three isolated towns in the hardest-hit Aurora province, where the typhoon slammed ashore.

"As of now, we don't have communication (with the three towns) and the roads are not passable, even to motorcycles, due to landslides, rockslides, and uprooted trees," said Rey Balido, spokesman for the national disaster agency. He said authorities were taking alternate routes and that the Philippine Air Force will deliver relief goods.

Hrvoje Hranjski in Manila and Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.

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