Hong Kong Drops Storm Signal as Stock Market to Open

Hong Kong dropped its storm warning signal with the stock market and banks set to resume operations, as Tropical Cyclone Usagi weakened after killing least 25 people in China.

Usagi, rated the world’s strongest storm this year, was downgraded to a tropical depression and was about 280 kilometers (174 miles) northwest of Hong Kong, the city’s observatory said at 10:30 a.m. The stock market will resume trading at 1 p.m. after the suspension this morning, said Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd.

Thousands were evacuated from China’s coastal areas as the storm damaged more than 7,100 homes in Guangdong province, while travelers celebrating the Chinese Mid-autumn Festival were delayed across the region with flights canceled. Winds in Hong Kong continued to subside, with workers making their way back into offices.

“Everyone was really prepared, and just getting on with business,” said Josh Ludlow, who moved to Hong Kong this month to work at a law firm in the central business district.

CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets said it will continue with its 20th investors forum, while the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association rescheduled its conference. Public transportation and banks in the former British colony are resuming services.

Guangdong Disruption

“Tropical Storm Usagi has weakened into a tropical depression,” the observatory said.

At least 25 people were killed in Guangdong province, and 3.56 million residents were affected by the storm, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said on its website, citing the provincial agency. Usagi had led to 3.24 billion yuan ($529 million) of losses in Guangdong province, it said.

In Fujian province, Usagi knocked out three power lines early yesterday, cutting off electricity to about 170,000 households before it was restored to all but 25,000 by noon, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The province issued a yellow typhoon warning, the next-to-lowest on the country’s four-level scale, at 4 a.m. today before the China Meteorological Administration downgraded it at 6 a.m. to blue, the lowest level.

Usagi dumped as much as 70 centimeters (28 inches) of rain in Taiwan’s east on Sept. 21, left 12 people injured and disrupted more than 100 flights, the Central Emergency Operation Center said.

Flights Delayed

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Hong Kong’s biggest carrier, said it will resume operations from mid-day after suspending some services yesterday. Air China Ltd. canceled 148 flights as of yesterday as airports in Xiamen, Shantou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Hong Kong and Macau were affected.

“The flight was scary,” said Maricel Cezar, a 38-year-old nurse visiting Hong Kong from Brisbane, Australia, with her family. “We’re going to try and make the most of our day” and go sightseeing, she said.

The government opened temporary shelters, with 281 people seeking refuge. As of 9:30 a.m., 17 people had sought emergency medical treatment at the city’s hospitals, with nine of them discharged, the Hospital Authority said.

Hong Kong, situated off China’s southern coast, gets on average about six tropical cyclones annually, according to the weather bureau. Usagi is the most powerful storm to threaten Hong Kong since Severe Typhoon Utor in August.

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