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Typhoon batters HK

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Typhoon Hato, a maximum category 10 storm, slammed into Hong Kong on Wednesday lashing the Asian financial hub with destructive winds and waves which uprooted trees, flooded streets and forced most businesses to close.

More than 400 flights were canceled, financial markets suspended and schools closed as Hato bore down on the city, the first category 10 storm to hit Hong Kong since typhoon Vicente in 2012.

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Many skyscrapers in the heart of the financial center were empty and in darkness as the city’s workers stayed at home and hunkered through the storm.

Hato churned up Hong Kong’s iconic Victoria Harbour and triggered large swells and massive waves on some of the city’s most popular beaches, with serious flooding in low-lying areas.

In residential districts like Heng Fa Chuen on densely populated Hong Kong island, massive waves smashed against the sides of oceanfront buildings and surged over a promenade, swamping vehicles parked nearby.

Construction cranes swayed precipitously from the tops of skyscrapers, trees toppled and residents deployed canoes to get around on some streets.

A total of 420 airline flights to and from Hong Kong had been canceled, said the government.

The city’s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, said the storm would “severely” impact flight operations, with the majority of flights to and from Hong Kong between 2200 GMT Tuesday and 0900 GMT Wednesday to be canceled.

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