HK bracing for Tropical Cyclone Damrey
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Updated at 6.18pm:
Hong Kong was preparing on Friday for the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Damrey as the storm headed towards the territory - having left 16 people dead in the Philippines.
The Hong Kong Observatory said it would consider raising the No 3 strong-wind signal on Friday evening or overnight as Damrey headed across the South China Sea. On Friday afternoon, the standby signal No 1 was already in force.
An Observatory spokesman said that at 5pm, Damrey was estimated to be about 390km southeast of Hong Kong. This was 20.2 degrees south, and 117.2 degrees east of the territory.
'It is forecast to move west at about 15km an hour across the northern part of the South China Sea.' the spokesman explained. He said the outer rain bands of Damrey were now affecting eastern Guangdong.
'They will bring squally showers to Hong Kong on Friday evening,' the spokesman predicted.
According to the latest forecasts, Damrey would reach Hong Kong at daytime on Saturday - then move south.
'Local winds will strengthen as Damrey gets closer,' the spokesman said.
The observatory has advised Hong Kong people to take some precautions against potential damage. 'Gutters and drains should be cleared of obstructions, hinges, bolts, locks - and shutters of windows and doors should be checked,' he advised.
People planning to visit Macau should check weather forecasts closely. They should also stay away from the shoreline and avoid waters sports, the spokesman said.
According to latest news reports, 16 people in the Philippines died after the storm raged across the island of Luzon. By late Friday, many areas in the archipelago's northern provinces of Ilocos Norte, Cagayan and Isabela were still flooded.
A spokesman for the Office of Civil Defence in Manila said most of the 16 deaths were drowning victims. Some 20,000 people were still in temporary shelters in the Philippines.
Over the years, typhoons have done considerable damage to Hong Kong. In 2000, Tropical Cyclone Maria killed two people and damaged some buildings. In 1971, Tropical Cyclone Rose resulted in 110 deaths, left five people missing and injured 286 people. In 1962 tropical Cyclone Wanda killed 130 and left 53 missing.
For further inquiries about Hong Kong weather, call (852) 2926-8200 or see the Hong Kong Observatory site.