Typhoon Utor has left at least one person dead and five others missing as it churned through southern China before weakening into a tropical storm, authorities have said.

After shutting down business in the financial centre of Hong Kong and sinking a cargo ship, Typhoon Utor brought high winds and torrential rain to Guangdong province on Thursday after making landfall.

These triggered flooding and mountain torrents that led to the casualties, the provincial government said.

Al Jazeera's Steff Gaulter explains Typhoon Utor

The typhoon had forced the closure of schools, offices, shopping centres and construction sites in cities along its path northwest across Guangdong.

Only minor damage was reported, a result, state media said, of strict adherence to orders to confine tens of thousands of fishing boats to port and
evacuate vulnerable people to shelters.

Thousands of travelers were stranded by the suspension of flights and ferry services.

By Thursday morning, the force of the storm had weakened considerably, with sustained winds at its centre falling to speeds of 85 km per hour as it
headed northwest through Guangxi province, about 350km west of Hong Kong.

Life returned to normal in Hong Kong on Thursday, a day after offices, schools and courts were shut and the stock market halted trading, bringing an eerie calm to the normally busy southern Chinese commercial hub.

Flights had been canceled and ferry services curtailed while helicopter search and rescue teams from Hong Kong and Guangdong province rescued 21 crew members from a bulk carrier transporting nickel ore before it sank in waters southwest of Hong Kong.

Utor was the world's strongest typhoon of the year before it crossed the Philippines earlier this week, leaving at least eight people dead.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies