Heavy rain, strong winds and waves of up to ten meters are causing transport chaos in southern China, Macau and Hong Kong today as Typhoon Utor sweeps through the region.
The tropical storm is expected to make landfall somewhere on the western coast of Guangdong province, China, this evening and will pass about 250 kilometers southwest of Hong Kong today.
In Hong Kong Signal Number 8 on a scale of 10 is currently in force, which means offices are closed and people are advised to stay indoors to avoid wind gusts that could exceed 100 miles per hour. Should Signal Number 8 its remain in place after noon, most offices, including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, are not expected to reopen until Thursday.
Multiple air, truck and train services have been suspended in the region, and vessels plying the Qiongzhou Strait, which connects southern China’s Hainan and Guangdong provinces, have been forced to put into port.
Liner giant OOCL said port operations at most terminals in the ports of Hong Kong, Yantian, Da Chan, Shekou and Chiwan were suspended but, as of 5:30 p.m. yesterday, services at Guangzhou and Nansha were scheduled to be open through Wednesday, although forwarders report operations at both terminals are strictly limited.
“For Hong Kong, everything including truck and port operations has come to a stop,” said Thomas Okbo, business manager for logistics services for South China and Hong Kong at GAC.
“The airport is working but many flights are canceled or suffering heavy delays.”
Jacques Chan, BDP International’s general manager for Hong Kong and South China, said Hong Kong and Shenzhen terminals have suspended operations for empty and laden pick up/return containers.
BDP’s operation in Hong Kong is currently closed, and employees have been told not to report to work until the situation improves. “Operations will only be resumed in the afternoon if Signal Number 8 is removed before 2 p.m. today,” he added.
More than 200 flights have so far been canceled or suffered delays at Hong Kong International Airport due to the typhoon. Cathay Pacific, which hubs at HKIA, has canceled or delayed 21 incoming or outgoing services scheduled for today.
Before reaching China, Typhoon Utor killed at least six people in the Philippines and displaced thousands as it proved the worst typhoon to hit the country this year.
Contact Mike King at firstname.lastname@example.org.