About 400 flights were cancelled or delayed by early evening, including those of Hong Kong's two major carriers, Cathay Pacific and DragonAir.

A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Airport Authority said flights were expected to resume after midnight.

Olympic equestrian events in Hong Kong avoided the worst of the typhoon, with the last showjumping event successfully concluding on Thursday night as the weather began to worsen.

The Guangdong meteorological bureau said Nuri might be the strongest typhoon to hit the province this year.

The last storm of such severity to hit Hong Kong was typhoon Dujuan, which made landfall in September 2003.