Typhoon Nuri lashed Hong Kong with heavy rain and strong winds on Friday, sparking major flight delays, disruption to public transport and a halt to trade on the city's financial markets.
Many offices in the southern Chinese territory were closed, and ferry services suspended as meteorologists issued the level-eight storm signal, signifying the likelihood of gale-force winds.
At 11:00 am, the typhoon was centred about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east-southeast of Hong Kong and was moving towards the city at a speed of about 14 kilometres an hour.
"Nuri will be rather close to Hong Kong this afternoon and ON Friday night with a chance of a direct hit," a spokesman for the Hong Kong Observatory said.
Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific and its sister company Dragonair announced that all flights would be cancelled for 12 hours starting at 2:00 pm (0600 GMT).
Organisers of the Olympic equestrian events staged in the city breathed a sigh of relief, as the competition ended Thursday with the show-jumping final.
Seven people were killed when Nuri slammed into the northern Philippines on Wednesday, packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometres an hour and gusts of up to 170 kilometres per hour.
August is Hong Kong's hottest month and typhoons can often force the entire city to close down -- as happened three days before the start of the Olympic Games, when Severe Tropical Storm Kammuri delayed the arrival of some horses.