Typhoon Hato brought winds of 130kmh to Lantau this morning, flooding Tai O, bringing air traffic to a halt and pounding local beaches with huge waves.
The Hong Kong Observatory recorded sustained wind speeds of 130 kmh at Cheung Chau and 90 kmh at Chek Lap Kok.
In flood-prone Tai O on Lantau’s western end, waters began rising very fast at about 10am and reached a depth of three metres in some places, according to Oriental Daily.
Police, fire and Civil Aid Service crews helped evacuate dozens of residents from their homes and move them to shelter.
So far no major injuries or damage have been reported.
At 2:10pm the Observatory hoisted the no. 8 signal, replacing the hurricane signal 10 that had been issued this morning. It was the first time in five years that at signal 10 had been issued.
It also lifted thunderstorm and amber rainstorm warnings, but says gale force winds are still affecting Lantau and southwestern Hong Kong.
It will consider downgrading to signal 3 before dusk.
Air services are also returning to normal. Reportedly only one plane, a KLM flight from Amsterdam, landed at Chek Lap Kok this morning.