BEIJING (AP) — A typhoon left one person dead and five others missing as it churned through southern China before weakening into a tropical storm on Thursday, authorities said.
After shutting down business in the financial center of Hong Kong and sinking a cargo ship, Typhoon Utor brought high winds and torrential rain to Guangdong province after making landfall Wednesday afternoon. These triggered flooding and mountain torrents that led to the casualties, the provincial government said Thursday.
The typhoon had forced the closure of schools, offices, shopping centers and construction sites in cities along its path northwest across Guangdong.
Only minor damage was reported, a result, state media said, of strict adherence to orders to confine tens of thousands of fishing boats to port and evacuate vulnerable people to shelters.
Thousands of travelers were stranded by the suspension of flights and ferry services.
By Thursday morning, the force of the storm had weakened considerably, with sustained winds at its center falling to speeds of 85 kph (53 mph) as it headed northwest through Guangxi province, about 350 kilometers (215 miles) west of Hong Kong.
Life returned to normal in Hong Kong Thursday, a day after offices, schools and courts were shut and the stock market halted trading, bringing an eerie calm to the normally busy southern Chinese commercial hub.
Flights had been canceled and ferry services curtailed while helicopter search and rescue teams from Hong Kong and Guangdong province rescued 21 crew members from a bulk carrier transporting nickel ore before it sank in waters southwest of Hong Kong.
Utor was the world's strongest typhoon of the year before it crossed the Philippines earlier this week, leaving at least eight people dead.
Associated Press writers Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong and Hrvoje Hranjski in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.