Examiners fear disruptions from typhoons
Exam officials are concerned that erratic weather patterns could cause disruptions to this year's assessments schedule.
The chaos on the mainland caused by record snowfalls this month has been blamed on a climactic phenomenon known as La Nina, which is also expected to generate above-average typhoon activity over the summer.
Senior officials in the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority said this week they were concerned about a potential logistical upset during the HKCEE and A-level exams, most of which were scheduled for April and May.
'We do lose sleep about the chance of bad weather during the exams period,' one official said. 'Exam papers need to be delivered on the day of the exam and so the trucks have to leave at 6am. As security needs to be very tight, it would be a logistical headache if we had to cancel an exam and recall the papers due to a typhoon warning.'
The official said the authority maintained close links with the Observatory and had been advised to expect the weather to be worse than usual during exams this year.
'We have not had any problems in the past few years, but with the weather being so unstable this year we are worried that we could have a lot of storms over the exams period.'
La Nina is a cyclical phenomenon caused by lower-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.
Lee Tsz-cheung, the Observatory's acting senior scientific officer for climate change and climate forecasting, said La Nina years statistically produced more tropical cyclones.
'Our official forecast for the number of cyclones this year will not be ready until next month, but from the statistics we can suggest that Hong Kong is likely to be affected by a higher number of cyclones than usual,' Dr Lee said.