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WEATHER

T8 signal raised in Hong Kong as Typhoon Usagi closes in

Hong Kong Observatory has issued No 8 storm signal for Typhoon Usagi

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 September, 2013, 2:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 September, 2013, 7:33pm
 

The Hong Kong Observatory issued the T8 Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal at 6.40pm today.

The government advises members of the public with long or difficult journeys home or having to return to outlying islands to begin their journey now.

“The water level may rise and cause flooding in the evening,” said Sandy Song Man-kuen, the observatory’s senior scientific officer.

The Macau Observatory said the No 8 northwest storm signal would be hoisted before 7pm.

The Hong Kong Obsevatory said that Usagi would make landfall to the east of Hong Kong and will skirt the territory at around 100km or less to the north later tonight and early tomorrow morning. 

A storm surge induced by Usagi may still lead to flooding in low-lying areas tomorrow morning. The Observatory said the public should be on the alert and take precautions against strong winds and flooding as early as possible.

China's National Meteorological Centre has said that Usagi is likely to land tonight somewhere between Huilai and Huidong on Guangdong's eastern coast, only 50km east of Hong Kong.

The Airport Authority said 166 arriving and 187 departing flights had been cancelled so far, while 42 arrivals and 25 departures had been delayed. Flight operations may be affected today and tomorrow, and passengers are advised to contact their airlines for the latest flight information.

Hundreds of travellers are stranded in the airport in Chep Lap Kok waiting for rearrangements of their flights.

Other transport services have also been affected. The New World First Ferry said the last inter-island services would depart from 2.50pm onwards, but added that it may have to suspend services before the typhoon signal No 8 was hoisted.

The Star Ferry said services connecting Central and Wanchai to Tsim Sha Tsui would be suspended within one hour after the signal No 8 was hoisted.

The Transport Department said ferries connecting Tuen Mun, Tung Chung, Sha Lo Wan and Tai O had been halted.

According to Cotai Jet, services going to and from Macau would be gradually suspended in the afternoon, but would be cut-off pending the signal No 8.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club cancelled today's race meeting at Sha Tin Racecourse and said it planned to reschedule for Wednesday  October 30, subject to government approval.

About a dozen hardcore surfers remained in Big Wave Bay an hour or two before the No 8 signal was hoisted. They said the wave was not particularly strong. The beach was so popular that the 30 parking lots were almost full.

But some surfers did give up. "The wave is really strong. It could be more dangerous later," said Ted Wong.

Technicians at the Daya Bay nuclear power plant in Guangdong took steps to ensure the installation was secure. The Security Bureau said the government had contingency plans in case of the nuclear plant was damaged.

Observatory senior scientific officer Mok Hing-yim warned of "astronomical" high tides and a storm surge.

Usagi will be closest to Hong Kong this evening. Shoppers cleared supermarket shelves of food as word spread that it could deliver a direct hit to the city.

The storm lashed the east and south coasts of Taiwan as it passed between the island and the Philippines' Batanes island chain yesterday. While the storm had weakened from super typhoon status, at least two people were killed in the Philippines and two others were missing.

"This is the strongest typhoon to hit Batanes in 25 years," Dina Abad, congresswoman for the Batanes islands, said. "The howling winds began at midnight and they churned up to eight-metre waves that damaged the port and sank moored fishing boats."

Taiwan's defence ministry deployed more than 1,600 soldiers to evacuate people living in areas vulnerable to flooding and landslides, according to the United Daily News. Mudslide warnings were issued for seven counties. Taiwan cancelled 82 domestic and international flights yesterday, with 33 delayed.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair cancelled all flights into and out of the city from 6pm today. China Airlines cancelled 26 flights between Hong Kong and Taiwan and Indonesia. Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express also cancelled at least six flights.

Mok said that if the typhoon signal No 8 was issued, Usagi would be the strongest typhoon to hit Hong Kong since Typhoon Hope in 1979, which killed 12 people and injured 260.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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32

This article is now closed to comments

asiaseen
And the SCMP's worst over-dramatisation of 2013.
dienw
While not wishing to be complacent about this typhoon, it is expected to weaken to a category 3 by the time it hits Hong Kong due to interaction with Taiwan and S China Coast - not sure what the SCMP's so called expert is talking about here but they should look for a new one!
The main worry about this typhoon is that it seems likely to hit HK on current predictions at high tide time on Sunday night. The accompanying storm surge could cause extreme damage. I think it is deeply irresponsible of the Observatory not to warn against this now. This is not the first time that their warnings about such damage come too late.
buzzy.pomona
You think that's bad, just wait until Tuxedo Kamen shows up.
ognevodd
Oh my goodness, whoever wrote this article cannot tell "astronomically high tide" from "astronomical high tide".
rsallen
So it now turns out that you have no idea what you're talking about. If you want to fly in 140 km/h winds, be my guest.
eric.schatz
The authors didn't understand the expression "astronomical high tide," a reference to the full moon's effect on tide.
impala
How do you think they transport horses? In their back pocket? Would you like to be driving a truck/trailer with a horse in it tonight after the races finish? If so, please contact the Jockey Club to volunteer your services.
Carparklee
When looking at the path predicted, I think of Daya Bay.
dienw
Not necessarily but they don't report the main risk which is storm surge boosting tide levels by around 2 metres or so.
rpasea
"The Security Bureau said the government had contingency plans in case of the nuclear plant was damaged."
I take it this means the elites will be evacuated and the rest of us left to die. Some people are just more equal than others.
TheFundamentals
Hope HK won't get blown away by Usagi and land in China !
dienw
Note time of my post - nearly TWO days before the warning was given. This is a disgrace and is the point I was trying to make. My house was nearly devastated by Hagupit 5 years ago. The storm surge warning came from HKO in the afternoon before the storm hit. HKO provides a very poor service and I never rely on them now. A Philippines website is streets ahead of HKO.
Btw, this typhoon is already weakening so don't believe the codswallop about strongest typhoon since 1979.
daily
You sound like quite the expert here.........hope you are right.
rower
No one is over-reacting, although it looks as though HK will be spared what could have been the worst typhoon since Rose in 1971. Read the report here.
****www.weather.gov.hk/informtc/no10/rose/rose.htm
Over 30 ships blown ashore and huge damage on land, plus over 100 lives lost. This could have been what Usagi brought. Not to prepare for the worst would be highly irresponsible and the action of someone who has never experienced a really severe typhoon, one that makes your ears pop in the gusts, blows your car away, flattens street signs under wind pressure alone, blows your window air conditioner across the room and, interestingly, forces the water out of the toilet in your flat. Most of the people here have not experienced a really severe typhoon and have no idea of what it can be like.
wingckwok
It's called the silence before the storm.
Carparklee
Better safe than sorry.
req
****www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2013/09/22/389531/Usagi-weakens.htm
By Joy Lee ,The China Post
September 22, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Typhoon Usagi has decreased from a super typhoon to medium strength as it heads in a west-northwesterly direction, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday.
HK-Lover
Dear SCMP,
Try to get it right please - CX's web link is wrong and should be www.cathayPacific.com
yectep
Actually, they did. Just because the public chooses to ignore their message does not mean they don't do it.
Verbatim from HKO website
"Local weather will deteriorate significantly with rough seas and heavy squally showers. Under the effect of the astronomical high tide, storm surge induced by Usagi may also lead to flooding in low-lying areas on Sunday night. The public should be on the alert, and take precautions against strong winds and flooding as early as possible."
qasim.shah.7547
Wonder who decided the name USAGI for this typhoon? Usagi should mean rabbit in Japanese and its considered a cute little animal. Is it because it is going to lash HK?
Carparklee
I love unagi better than usagi. Unagi donn is yummy.
ognevodd
So now it turns out everyone's overreacted, the typhoon is turning north and the flight cancellations were not really that necessary.
superdx
Yeah that's pretty irresponsible, misleading too. Should report this to the ombudsman.
daniel.murphy.902
The HK Jockey Club has cancelled today's races! It's not even raining yet!
The typhoon wont hit until 5am tomorrow.
This is an over-reaction.
rjkoch
Obviously jve doesn't frequent the racing at Shatin
The horses are stabled on course and do not require transportation to and from racing.
Atjaardstra@hotmail.com
it is raining now
ognevodd
Hong Kong is way too far from Daya Bay to sustain any significant problems should any reactor in Daya or Long'ao NPP be damaged. Due to mountains, southern wind direction and huge distance (20-50 km depending on the area of HK where you live), we may not even notice.
Fukushima, for instance, did not have any noticeable effect on nature or people outside the 30km zone, although the TV is trying hard to convince you it had.
gchk2010
I thought nuclear power is safe...
r6b
I do not understand why you got "disliked'
Your info is 100% accurate
READERS TAKE NOTEe - this is a FAKE website
>>> ****t.co/7bACv9c8Fl <<<
and may infect your computers.
james.langelle.7
SUPERTYPHOON ODETTE IN AUTODESK MAYA 3D PAN ZOOM ROLL LATEST IR MTSAT IMAGE
****chinabeach7.blogspot.com
Carparklee
Mr. Lam Chiu Ying, the ex-HKO chief should really read your comment. He is now teaching in CU as a guest lecturer in the Geography department (hope I did not recall wrong. Ask him what went wrong in HKO 5 years ago.
ou7blaze
well what's the website you use then?

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