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Natural disasters

Typhoon Saola reaches Guangdong after slamming Hong Kong

Despite weakening, super storm continues to affect the southern Chinese province

Super Typhoon Saola toppled these trees in Hong Kong on September 2 before blowing toward Taiwan's eastern coast.   © Reuters

HONG KONG (Reuters) -- Typhoon Saola made landfall in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong early on Saturday as violent winds lashed nearby Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macao, leaving at least one dead and a trail of destruction and flooding in many areas.

The Asian financial hub of Hong Kong and the populous Chinese province of Guangdong canceled hundreds of flights on Friday and shut businesses, schools and financial markets as Saola edged closer.

Packing winds of more than 200 kph (125 mph) as a super typhoon, Saola was among the strongest to menace the southern province since 1949. It was a severe typhoon, Chinese authorities said, as it made landfall in the city of Zhuhai with winds slowing to around 160 kph.

Commuter trains in Guangdong were allowed to start gradually resuming at 8:30 a.m., the railway operator said.

Despite weakening, Saola continues to affect the region, Chinese authorities said.

More than 300 people were stranded at Hong Kong's airport after some 460 flights were canceled, the city's Airport Authority said.

Flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said flights would resume at noon on Saturday after being suspended since Friday afternoon.

Hong Kong on Friday night imposed its highest hurricane storm signal, 10, lowering it to 8 by Saturday morning. The city's observatory said it would remain in force until 4 p.m. as heavy rain and flooding were still affecting the territory.

Fallen trees were strewed over many roads, particularly in the more exposed outlying islands. In the bustling Causeway Bay district many building signs had flown off.

A large window was blown out of an office building in the Tseung Kwan O district, footage from broadcaster TVB showed. Photos posted on Facebook showed water levels at Repulse Bay beach surging several meters higher than normal, partially submerging its landmark Tin Hau temple.

More than 500 people sought refuge in government shelters while more than 50 were admitted to hospitals due to the typhoon, the government said.

In Macao, the world's biggest gambling center, casinos were allowed to reopen at 8 a.m. on Saturday, the government said, after shutting Friday night.

One person was killed in Shenzhen after a tree fell and hit their vehicle, local media reported.

Haikui, a typhoon not as strong as Saola, was forecast to make landfall on Taiwan's far southeastern coast late on Sunday afternoon and bring heavy rain across the island into next week.

Taiwan's two main domestic airlines canceled all flights for Sunday, and the government warned people to stay away from beaches and mountain areas.

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