The last time a typhoon reached level 10 in Hong Kong was Typhoon Vicente in 2012.

A typhoon a Hong Kong named Typhoon Hato has been seen as the worst storm the city has seen in five years.

Channel News Asia reports that the hurricane force winds and heavy rains of Typhoon Hato resulted in the stock market shutting down as well as the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Reaching the city’s maximum Typhoon 10 signal for the first time in five years, Hato is only the third typhoon to reach a level 10 warning since Hong Kong’s independence in 1997.

The storm was reportedly as close as 60km to Hong Kong, making landfall at noon in Zhuhai.

Metre-high waves were seen crashing into shorelines, resulting in knee-deep flooding in some areas. Gusts of winds reached up to 207 kmph, throwing around debris and tearing down trees, scaffolding and cranes.

Residents and shop owners taped up their windows to protect shattering after panes from office building skyscrapers were smashed.

“I was on my balcony in the village of Yuen Long when a tree literally flew past my house,” said Dave Coulson from the rural northwestern New Territories.

The witness said he also experienced frequent power cuts.

One Lohas Park resident brought his young daughter down to experience the weather. “I came down here to feel the winds,” he told AFP.

34 people went to hospital seeking treatment related to the typhoon and 280 were taking refuge in temporary shelters.

Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong airlines said almost all flights leaving before 5pm were cancelled. 450 flights were cancelled by late morning.

Hong Kong Observatory reported water levels at 3.6m recorded at Quarry Bay. The water level is expected to rise. Tolo Harbour is expecting water levels of 5m.