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Usagi misses Hong Kong, but lashes Chinese mainland

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Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Sunday, September 22, 2013, 1:22 PM -

The year's most powerful typhoon slammed into southern China on Sunday evening, forcing hundreds of flight cancellations, shutting down shipping and putting a nuclear power plant on alert after pummeling parts of the Philippines and Taiwan with heavy rains and fierce winds.

Typhoon Usagi veered away from Hong Kong at the last minute and made landfall northeast of the former British colony. Forecasters had warned earlier that it posed a "severe threat" to the southern Chinese city.

The typhoon passed on Saturday through the Luzon Strait separating the Philippines and Taiwan, likely sparing residents in both places from the most destructive winds near its eye. In the Philippines, Usagi left at least two dead and two others missing while in Taiwan nine people were hurt by falling trees on Kinmen island.

Usagi was downgraded from a super typhoon on Saturday after sustained winds fell below 241 km/h per hour as approached Taiwan and the mainland.

In Guangdong province in mainland China, the government urged people to prepare for the storm, which was forecast to slam into the manufacturing heartland of the Pearl River Delta as it passed Hong Kong.

Guangdong authorities asked more than 44,000 fishing boats to return to port while neighbouring Fujian Province evacuated more than 80,000 people from flood-prone areas and deployed 50,000 disaster-relief workers, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair said flights to and from Hong Kong International Airport would be cancelled from 6 p.m. Sunday and resume Monday if conditions permit. China Southern Airlines, based in nearby Guangzhou, also said it was cancelling flights to and from Hong Kong and other places in China, Xinhua said.

The Associated Press.

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