Typhoon Slams Hong Kong

The worst storm in more than a decade pounded Hong Kong Thursday, blowing windows out of downtown skyscrapers, triggering flooding and blocking roads with uprooted trees. Officials warned dangerous landslides could come as Typhoon York finishes its romp in the former British colony.

One man died after being struck by flying debris, another was missing and at least 441 people were injured -- 11 seriously -- in the worst storm to hit Hong Kong in 16 years, a government spokesman said.

A rescue canoeist was still missing late Thursday after going in search of two surfers from the nearby island of Cheung Chau, officials said. The surfers were found alive.

The typhoon, packing maximum winds of 93 mph, forced the closure of schools, financial markets and most businesses. Ferry service to outlying islands and to the neighboring Portuguese enclave of Macau was suspended, as fishing boats scurried for cover.

Typhoon York was the most powerful tropical storm to hit Hong Kong since Typhoon Ellen struck on Sept. 9, 1983, the government said.

The Hong Kong Observatory raised a No. 10 hurricane signal, the strongest warning Hong Kong meteorologists issue during tropical storms and one that had not gone up since Typhoon Ellen. Ellen killed at least eight people, and several more were missing at sea.

After almost 11 hours of hurricane-force winds that turned Hong Kong into a chaotic mess, officials said the typhoon was moving toward mainland China.

The storm brought chaos to Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok airport, where 101 flights were canceled, 138 delayed and 13 diverted by early evening.

Officials said by early Thursday night that 674 people had sought refuge in emergency shelters. Scattered power outages cut off some remote villages. Power failures left almost 400 people trapped in the elevators that are common in Hong Kong's many high-rise apartment houses, according to firefighters who spent all day freeing the people.

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