Tropical Storm Ma-on makes landfall in southern China

HONG KONG (AP) — Tropical Storm Ma-on made landfall in southern China’s Guangdong province on Thursday after bringing rain and stiff winds to Hong Kong, where the stock market was closed for the morning session due to the storm.

Residents of coastal areas around the city of Maoming were urged to stay away from the shore Thursday morning as the typhoon arrived at 10:30 a.m. (0230 GMT).

Ma-on was packing sustained winds of 118 kilometers (73 miles) per hour and moving slowly northwest at about 25 kilometers (15 miles) per hour, the Guangdong Meteorological Public Service Center said. It noted the storm made landfall as a typhoon but was steadily weakening.

The storm was estimated to be about 380 kilometers (236 miles) west of Hong Kong as of 2:00 p.m. (0600 GMT), according to the Hong Kong Observatory.

Ma-on is expected to weaken as it moves inland toward the Guangxi region, Yunnan province and northern Vietnam.

The Hong Kong government said that one person had been injured and reports of flooding and a fallen tree had been received. About 140 people had sought refuge in temporary shelters set up in the city, a government news release said. Schools were closed for at least the morning.

On Thursday morning, the Hong Kong Observatory lowered its No. 8 typhoon warning signal to a No. 3 signal, warning of strong winds between 41 and 62 kph (25.4 and 38.5 mph).

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., the operator of the city’s stock exchange, said in a statement that it delayed the trading of stocks and derivatives during the morning session. Trading resumed at 1 p.m.

In Guangdong, several cities suspended high-speed rail and ferry service and evacuated workers on offshore projects. The airport in Shenzhen, a Chinese tech center that borders Hong Kong, canceled all flights from 3 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Authorities in the Philippines reported at least three deaths and four injured, mostly after being hit by falling trees, after the storm swept across the northern part of the country earlier this week.

More than 10,000 people were displaced, and public schools and government offices were closed for two days in Manila and several outlying provinces because of gusty wind and heavy rain.

Ma-on, which means horse saddle in Chinese, is hitting China as many areas face severe drought brought on by record-breaking temperatures that have withered crops and reduced electricity and drinking water supplies.

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Associated Press writer Jim Gomez in Manila contributed.

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