Typhoon Slams Into South China Coast  July 24th  2003

HONG KONG (Reuters) - One of the most powerful typhoons in years, bringing howling winds and torrential rain, ripped into southern China Thursday after killing at least 10 people in the Philippines and injuring dozens more.

At least 11 people were hurt in Hong Kong, mostly by flying debris, as winds intensified, local media reported, while rescue helicopters braved strong winds and heavy seas to pluck 16 sailors from a container ship with a broken rudder.

Winds of up to 115 mph pounded the southern Chinese province of Guangdong as the storm made landfall at noon near the city of Yangjiang, about 190 miles southwest of Hong Kong. It was moving northwest at about 17 mph.

"The wind was strongest when it hit land, as strong as gale force 12," said an official at the Guangdong provincial weather bureau. "The rain is quite heavy."

The Hong Kong Observatory said it was the strongest typhoon to hit Guangdong since Typhoon Sally devastated the province in 1996, killing 123 people and injuring 4,300.

A weather official in the city of Maoming, a large oil refining and petrochemical center, said there were no reports as yet of casualties or flooding in the area but extensive emergency measures were in place across southern China.


High winds and rough seas whipped up by the storm were felt off the Vietnam coast, where 13 Indonesian sailors, including a woman, were rescued after their ship sank.

Halong Bay, a tourist hot spot in Vietnam, would be hit by winds of 55 mph to 63 mph Thursday evening, the weather bureau said.

As the typhoon plowed through Guangdong, life in Hong Kong slowly returned to normal and the weather bureau had canceled all storm warnings by midday.

Businesses and offices reopened and classes at some schools were expected to resume in the afternoon. The stock exchange began trade at 10:30 a.m., 30 minutes later than usual. The airport was open throughout the storm, although the territory's largest airline, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., canceled some flights and a number of others were delayed.

Imbudo, which means "funnel" in Tagalog, tore through the Philippines Tuesday, killing 10 people and injuring 20, while three were still missing. It was the most powerful storm to hit the country since 1998.

Six or seven typhoons pass near Hong Kong each year, but direct hits are rare. In 2001, one person died when Typhoon Utor tore through the territory.

The deadliest in recent decades was Typhoon Wanda in 1962, which killed 130 people, left 53 missing and sank or wrecked nearly 1,300 small ships.

Back to the Typhoon Imbudo page