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Storm Pakhar hits Hong Kong, Macau days after deadly Hato

Tropical storm Pakhar has brought strong winds and heavy rain to Hong Kong and Macau on Sunday, just four days after one of the strongest typhoons on record, Hato, caused serious flooding and damage in the territories and killed at least 10 people in the gaming hub.

The two cities lowered their typhoon signal to No. 3 in the early afternoon, after Pakhar brushed passed and landed in the southern Chinese city of Taishan in the morning.

Both cities issued their third-highest weather warnings, storm signal No. 8, early in the day as winds intensified and heavy rain lashed down, churning up rough seas and prompting alerts of flooding in low-lying areas.

No serious damage has been observed in Hong Kong so far. The government said it has received 13 reports of flooding and 159 reports of fallen trees.

Hong Kong’s weather observatory said in the early hours that winds occasionally reached storm force in the southern part of the territory and hurricane force on high ground on Lantau Island to the west of the city, where the airport is situated.

Pakhar’s arrival comes as the cities are still reeling from Hato. While Hong Kong escaped major damage, Hato devastated Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, killing at least 10 people, injuring 244 and exposing critical infrastructure flaws after it left the city without water and power for days.

The maximum sustained winds recorded at Cheung Chau and Chek Lap Kok were 114 and 76 kilometers per hour, respectively, in the morning, with maximum gusts at 136 and 101 kmh.

China’s Meteorological Administration maintained its yellow typhoon warning, the third-highest of four levels, as of midday Sunday and said torrential rains are expected in several southern provinces through Monday afternoon.

Airport Authority Hong Kong reported 300 flights had been canceled or delayed, and around 30 diverted to other places by noon. Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, said the storm would cause delays and cancellations to flights arriving and departing on Sunday and Monday.

Some ferries to Macau and outlying islands in Hong Kong resumed services after the typhoon signals were lowered.

In Macau, the storm will pose a major setback to clean-up efforts that saw Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops deployed to help remove mountains of stinking debris strewn across some heavily flooded districts battered by Hato.

Power has been restored in the territory but some areas still lacked water supply as of Saturday evening, the Macau Government Information Bureau said on its official website.