The death toll from Typhoon Hato has risen to at least nine as the most powerful storm to hit the southern China region around Hong Kong in more than half a century barreled west Thursday and was losing strength. Macau said five people were killed in the gambling enclave, including two men found overnight in a parking garage. Another 153 were listed as injured amid extensive flooding, power outages, and the smashing of doors and windows by the high winds and driving rain. China’s official Xinhua News Agency said four more people were killed in the neighboring province of Guangdong and one person remains missing. Hato roared into the area on Wednesday with winds of up to 160 kilometers (99 miles) per hour. Xinhua said almost 27,000 people were evacuated to emergency shelters, while extensive damage to farmland due to the heavy rain and high tides was also reported. Almost 2 million households lost power temporarily, while fishing boats were called back to port and train services and flights suspended, Xinhua said. ”Compared to other typhoons, Hato moved fast, quickly grew more powerful and caused massive amounts of rainfall,” Wu Zhifang, chief weather forecaster at Guangdong meteorological bureau, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
By Thursday, a weaker Hato was moving into China’s Guangxi region. Flooding and injuries were also reported in Hong Kong, which lies across the water 64 kilometers (40 miles) from Macau, but there were no reports of deaths. Hato’s fierce gales blew out windows on skyscrapers in the Asian financial capital, raining shattered glass onto the eerily quiet streets below. Hong Kong’s weather authorities had raised the hurricane signal to the highest level for the first time in five years. The earlier deaths in Macau were men, aged 30, 45 and 62. One fell from the 11th floor of a building, one was hit by a truck and another was killed when the wind blew down a wall. Details about the deaths in Guangdong weren’t immediately available.