A typhoon lashed Hong Kong with wind and rain, closing down the bustling Asian financial center Wednesday before sweeping toward mainland China.
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange was also closed early Wednesday, in accordance with the territory\’s "Number 8" tropical cyclone warning.
Heavy rains and winds up to 122 kilometers per hour were reported in Hong Kong, which is not expected to be hit directly by the storm.
Forecasters expect Utor to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday near the western coast of southern China\’s Guangdong province.
Financial markets, schools, businesses and non-essential government services close when a No. 8 or above storm signal is hoisted, although the cyclone was not expected to hit Hong Kong directly, but stray towards the western fringes of China\’s Guangdong province, nearer to Macau and the island of Hainan.
The morning stock exchange session was suspended and the stock market will be shut for the rest of the day if typhoon signal 8 is still in place by noon.
As of late Tuesday, more than 3,000 passengers were stranded at Sanya and Haikou airports on Hainan, according to China\’s official Xinhua news agency.
Cathay Pacific announced about 15 incoming and outgoing flights would be cancelled.
Some train and shipping services were also suspended, with waves of over 10 metres expected in some coastal zones.
The storm passed over the Philippines earlier this week, causing landslides and flooding that killed at least six people and left 30,000 displaced.