Powerful typhoon kills 20 in southern China, swipes Hong Kong

Powerful typhoon kills 20 in southern China, swipes Hong Kong
A man walks under fallen branches on a pavement at a residential district after Typhoon Usagi hit Hong Kong September 23, 2013.

HONG KONG - A powerful typhoon hit Hong Kong and the southern China coast on Monday, killing at least 20 people on the mainland, crippling power lines and causing flooding and gale force winds.

Typhoon Usagi, the strongest storm to hit the Western Pacific this year, began pounding the Asian financial centre late on Sunday. More than 370 flights were cancelled.

The No. 8 signal warning remained in force early on Monday, with financial markets closed for at least part of the morning.

The weather observatory said the storm had weakened from "super" typhoon status and that it would consider lowering the warning signal before 10 a.m. (0200 GMT)

China's National Meteorological Centre issued its highest alert, with more than 80,000 people moved to safety in Fujian province and authorities deploying at least 50,000 disaster-relief workers, state Xinhua news agency reported.

At least 20 people were killed on China's southern coast, television reports said, including 13 in Shanwei in the eastern fringes of Guangdong province.

The victims included people hit by debris and others who had drowned. One man was killed by a falling window pane.

"It is the strongest typhoon I have ever encountered,"Xinhua quoted Luo Hailing, a gas station attendant in Shanwei, as saying. "So terrible, lucky we made preparations."

Winds of more than 180 km/hour (110 mph) were recorded in some parts of southern China, toppling trees, cranes and blowing cars off roads in some areas.

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