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Hong Kong braces for powerful Typhoon


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#1    Althalus

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 06:50 PM

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong has shut schools, offices and financial markets and millions of people have raced home as the most powerful typhoon of the year roared toward the south China coast.
At 7 p.m. (midday British time), Typhoon Dujuan was about 100 km (60 miles) east of Hong Kong, packing torrential rain and powerful winds.
Click to enlarge photo

"The maximum wind speed is about 160 km per hour (100 mph) and it is moving closer and closer to Hong Kong," said a spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Observatory.
The storm, moving west at about 30 km per hour, ripped into southeastern Taiwan overnight, cutting power to over half a million homes. A 54-year-old man drowned after falling off a breakwater into the sea and at least one person was missing after being swept into a swollen river.

More than 12 people were trapped in mountainous areas.

The Hong Kong Observatory issued typhoon warning signal Number 8 -- the territory's third-highest storm alert -- indicating gale or storm force winds of 63 to 117 km/h are expected and gusts may exceed 180 km/h. The government told members of the public to return home at once.

No major incidents had been reported by 4.20 p.m., the Hong Kong government said.

But the typhoon is disrupting traffic at the Hong Kong International Airport, with 134 flights cancelled and 94 delayed.

Ship owners and seafarers were urged to take extra precautions as seas became rough. Ferry companies suspended their services.

Many people who live on Hong Kong's outlying islands began filing home at midday, fearing they would be stranded when ferry services were suspended. Long queues were seen at some of the city's bus stops.

Classes at all schools were suspended and phone lines were jammed as frantic parents tried to arrange transportation for their children.

Trading on the stock market was suspended for the afternoon and could be delayed on Wednesday morning if the signal is still up.

Winds were strengthening and the city's famous harbour was obscured by rain. Owners of small boats rushed to strengthen or add extra mooring lines and construction workers lashed down material at some building sites.

Dujuan, which means azalia in Chinese, is expected to come closest to Hong Kong later on Tuesday.

Leung Wing-mo, a senior scientific officer at the Hong Kong Observatory, said the Observatory could elevate the storm warning signal to Number 9 or even 10, its highest level, if the typhoon is expected to hit the territory directly.

Six or seven typhoons pass near Hong Kong each year, but direct hits are rare. In 2001, one person died when Typhoon Utor tore through the territory.

The deadliest in recent decades was Typhoon Wanda in 1962, which killed 130 people, left 53 missing and sank or wrecked nearly 1,300 small ships.

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#2    SpaceyKC

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Posted 02 September 2003 - 07:27 PM


        I hope everyone is able to get out of the way in time.   sad.gif
        

"Science may have found a cure for most evils;  but it has
         found no remedy for the worst of them all --- the apathy of human beings."
                                                     Helen Keller




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