Tropical storm Hato dealt Macau only a glancing blow, but it was powerful enough to shut down Asia’s premier gaming hub, flood some integrated resorts, and take at least three lives as it pummels its way toward the mainland.
The Macau Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) hoisted signal 10 shortly before midday on Wednesday as the former Portuguese enclave braced itself for what the government agency described as the most destructive typhoon to hit Macau since 1999.
According to The South China Morning Post, power outages and flooding were being reported across much of the Macau peninsula as the storm – with winds reaching the speeds of up to 165 kilometres per hour (103 mph) – skirts about 50 kilometers to the south of Hong Kong.
The non-stop rainfall in Macau reportedly inundated the ground floor gaming area at the Ponte 16 resort. Hato also left a trail of destruction in Melco Resorts’ Studio City on Cotai and City of Dreams; while uprooted trees were hurled across the pool of Galaxy Macau.
A Wynn Hotel Macau staffer said: “All our systems broke down. We do not have electricity and water.”
Many tourists, meanwhile, described the scene in Macau as chaotic as several luxury hotel reportedly stopped taking in guests until further notice due to the power outage.
A South China Morning Post reporter tried to reserve a room at the Four Seasons, but was told the hotel was full.
“Due to the blackout of power and [lack of] water supply, we cannot run the restaurants and casino,” a member of staff said. “Not sure when we can reopen. We are not accepting reservations at the moment.”
The same thing happened in Galaxy Hotel, where a front desk employee told the reporter that they couldn’t accommodate guests today and tomorrow.
“We’ve advised our guests to stay in the rooms. We will make further arrangements for the loss of customers when the situation gets better,” she said.
As of 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the weatherman has downgraded the typhoon warning in Macau to signal 3.