Hato, the most powerful typhoon to hit south China in more than half a century, left at least 16 dead as a sudden deluge swamped the gambling hub of Macau, submerging streets and stranding residents. Macau said Thursday that eight people were killed in the former Portuguese colony, including two men found overnight in a submerged parking garage. Another 153 were injured amid extensive flooding, power outages, and the smashing of doors and windows by high winds and driving rain, the AP reports. Lawmaker Jose Pereria Coutinho says the flooding was worst in the older parts of the city’s downtown, where narrow lanes date back from Macau’s time as a Portuguese colony for more than four centuries.
“People were just swimming, they cried for help. There were no boats. The water came so suddenly,” says Coutinho. China’s official Xinhua News Agency said eight more people were killed in Guangdong province and one person remained missing. Almost 27,000 people were evacuated to emergency shelters. Flooding and injuries were also reported in Hong Kong, which lies across the water 40 miles from Macau, but there were no reports of deaths. Hato’s fierce gales blew out windows on skyscrapers in the Asian financial capital, raining shattered glass onto the eerily quiet streets below. Hong Kong’s weather authorities had raised the hurricane signal to the highest level for the first time in five years.