Typhoon Utor shifts down to tropical storm as it hits China


Dark clouds brought by Typhoon Utor are seen over the city's skyline in Hong Kong on August 14, 2013. Hong Kong battened down as Typhoon Utor forced the closure of the city's financial market and schools and disrupted hundreds of flights after leaving several dead in the Philippines.



Typhoon Utor downshifted into a tropical storm as it made its way across China's southern provinces, according to the Associated Press.

The storm, which first surfaced on August 10, shut down Hong Kong on Wednesday after tearing through the Philippines. 

The AP said so far minimal damage has been reported in China, where schools were closed and thousands of people were evacuated in advance of a storm so powerful it ranks among the world's strongest typhoon so far the year. 

Surrounding nations are also bracing for heavy rainfall, with Vietnamese authorities warning of possible flash floods and landslides and Malaysia said to have felt the effects of the storm

"In the next 24 hours, Utor will move northwest, change into its west direction at a speed of 10-15 km [six-to-nine miles] per hour, move further inland and weaken into a low pressure system with winds speeds of 39-49kph [24-30 miles per hour]," according to VietNamNet.

The storm's windspeed at its center as it went through Guangxi was at 53 mph, said the AP

So far at least eight people in the region have been reported killed due to the weather.