The Observatory has raised the no. 10 hurricane signal as Typhoon Hato, bearing winds of 155 kmh, heads for Hong Kong.
If Hatao stays on track, Lantau could take close to the full force. The typhoon is tracking toward the Pearl River Estuary and forecast to reach as close as 50km south of the city.
The Observatory has reported maximum sustained wind speeds of 155 kmh.
All schools, bus and ferries are closed and dozens of flights have been cancelled.
The MTR is running a very limited service, with no airport express and no service on the Tung Chung line except between Hong Kong station and Kowloon.
The Observatory raised the no. 10 signal at 9:10am, an hour after raising the no. 9 signal which indicates sharply inceasing wind speeds. It has also posted an amber rain warning.
It warns of “severe sea water flooding” in low-lying areas and urges people to stay away from the shoreline and stay indoors.
At 9am Typhoon Hato was about 80 kilometres south of the city and forecast to move west-northwest at about 25 kmh toward the Pearl River Estuary.
In the past few hours, local winds were strengthening significantly. Storm force winds are affecting offshore waters. In the coming few hours, Hato will be closest to the territory, skirting about 50 kilometres to the south of Hong Kong. When the local winds strengthen further, the Observatory will consider issuing a higher signal.