Hong Kong braces for Tropical Storm Nalgae

HONG KONG (AP) — Schools and offices closed and some events were canceled in Hong Kong on Wednesday as Tropical Storm Nalgae swept south of the city, while a finance conference meant to restore Hong Kong’s image as an international business center went ahead.

As the city braced itself, temporary shelters were opened and theme parks were closed. Afternoon trading was suspended in the stock market, and some ferry and bus services were halted. The Hong Kong Jockey Club scrapped the evening’s horse races.

The Hong Kong Observatory raised a No. 8 typhoon signal, the third-highest warning under the city’s weather system, as Nalgae’s maximum sustained winds hit 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour.

Residents were urged to stay away from the shoreline and avoid water sport activities, the observatory said.

The government halted various public services, ranging from vaccinations to childcare and elderly centers.

The storm was passing over waters south of Hong Kong at night before making an expected landfall in southern China on Thursday.

As of 8 p.m., the city was left largely unscathed with just nine reports of fallen trees. No reports of landslides or flooding were received, according to the government.

While Nalgae was expected to weaken, stiff winds were forecast to affect the city until Thursday morning.

The No. 8 warning, which prompted workers to return home, was to remain in force until at least 2 a.m. Thursday. Whether it would be downgraded later would depend on the strength of the storm and its distance from the city, the observatory said.

Nalgae killed more than 130 people in the Philippines days ago before moving closer to China’s southeastern and southern coastal regions. Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to China’s rule in 1997.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday declared a state of calamity for six months in four storm-battered regions, including a five-province Muslim autonomous region in the south where rescuers continued to search for villagers feared buried in a huge mudslide in a mountainside community.

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Associated Press writer Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.

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