The force 10 storm caught Macau unawares, killing at least nine people and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
Authorities in Macau categorised it as a force 3 storm until just hours before it hit, but Typhoon Hato was the fiercest storm seen on the Chinese Territory since 1968, its winds of up to 200 km/h more than justifying its category 10 status.
At least twelve people were killed and many more are still missing as rescuers search vehicles that were submerged in the floods that resulted from the typhoon.
Locals report sheets of glass flying through the air, and severe damage to water supplies, as the gale forces battered luxury apartments in the gambling hub.
Ashley Sutherland-Winch, a marketing consultant based in Macau said “I am shocked with the late notice and lack of preparation that was given for this superstorm. Residents are in peril and unable to assess if help is on the way”.
Business as usual?
Some high-end casinos on the Cotai strip attempted to carry on as usual even as their facades were being ripped off. Many were forced to resort to using back-up generators. It is not yet clear what the impact on gambling revenues will be.
Nolan Ledarney, director of Hong Kong-based food website, Crafted 852, who was staying in the Galaxy casino, reported that guests in the Galaxy casino report had been marshalled into a safe area of the complex.
— Andrew Hawkins (@AndrewNJHawkins) August 24, 2017
The typhoon had passed by Hong Kong hours earlier, where authorities there upgraded it from the category 8 storm predicted to category 10.
In contrast to Macau, in Hong Kong, schools and offices were closed, and ferries and flights cancelled, as the territory battened down the hatches.
— Sailing Cloud (@twinitisha) August 24, 2017
Hato has also hit Guangdong province on the Chinese mainland, where it is reported to have destroyed hundreds of homes and caused further casualties.
Typhoon Hato leaves 16 dead after lashing southern China: The death toll from Severe Typhoon Hato rose to at least…
— Tracy (@rshtrcy) August 24, 2017
As it makes its way overland, however, it is expected to weaken.