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Friday, October 21, 2016, 22:20

Haima disrupts flights, fells trees in HK


Haima disrupts flights, fells trees in HK
A man jogs along a promenade running along Victoria Harbour as Typhoon Haima approaches Hong Kong early on Oct 21, 2 016, shortly after the typhoon signal eight warning was raised. (Anthony WALLACE / AFP)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Observatory cancelled all typhoon signals at 10:10 pm Friday as Typhoon Haima moved away from the city.

The storm was closest to Hong Kong around noon, bringing strong winds and heavy rain to the city before making landfall in Shanwei.

The Hong Kong Observatory raised its typhoon 8 signal early Friday morning, one of its highest warnings which rate typhoons up to 10

The Hong Kong Observatory raised its typhoon 8 signal, one of its highest warnings which rate typhoons up to 10

Members of the public are warned not to engage in activities on the water and to stay clear of the shoreline, where there may be a danger of rogue waves, squalls and heavy rain.

It is the first time since 1995 that a typhoon signal no. 8 was hoisted in October in Hong Kong. The region's typhoon season runs mainly in summer.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority reported that by 11:30 am on Friday, more than 700 flights had been delayed or cancelled. Cathay Pacific and Dragonair announced that all arrivals and departures at Hong Kong International between 11 am and 10 pm on Friday would be delayed or cancelled.

All ferry and tramcar services, as well as most bus services, would remain suspended during the day. The Education Bureau suspended classes at all kindergartens and day-schools.

The Home Affairs Department opened 20 temporary shelters for people in need. Clinics under the Department of Health, except the methadone clinics, would remain closed for the day.

Railway transportation was also interrupted, with direct trains going to and from Guangzhou and Shanghai suspended; while local rail lines provide limited services. The judiciary announced all hearings of courts and tribunals will remain adjourned today.

Hong Kong's stock and futures market and the gold market are suspended. Hong Kong Ocean Park and Disneyland are also closed due to bad weather.

At least 197 cases of tree collapse were reported as of 5 pm.

This is the second time this year that the Observatory hoisted the No 8 signal, warning of sustained winds between 63 and 117 kilometers per hour, with gusts possibly exceeding 180 kmph.

The previous No 8 signal was hoisted on Aug 1. Typhoon Haima has caused widespread damage, including landslides, flooding and power outages in northern Philippines, leaving eight dead before turning its fury toward Hong Kong.

In neighboring Shenzhen, the city’s authority has activated a red alert and suspended all classes and work in the city.

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