Hottest day of the year heralds start of Hong Kong's typhoon season

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 June, 2014, 5:28am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 June, 2014, 1:47pm

Hong Kong's typhoon season kicked off with something of a whimper yesterday, as the Observatory raised the T1 signal due to Tropical Storm Hagibis edging to within 250 kilometres of the territory.

While winds remained light the territory recorded its hottest day of the year, hitting 33.5 degrees Celsius before the first typhoon signal of the season was raised at 5.40pm.

Rain showers and ocean swells affected Hong Kong overnight as the storm headed towards the coast of Guangdong.

By 10am today the Observatory said winds were unlikely to strengthen in Hong Kong. The signal was cancelled at 1.20pm.

A statement on the Observatory website read: "The outer rainbands of Hagibis will continue to affect Hong Kong and there will be swells. The Standby Signal No.1 will remain in force this morning.

"[The storm] is forecast to move north at about 10 kilometres per hour in the general direction of the coastal areas of eastern Guangdong."

The weather will remain cloudy accompanied with a few showers throughout next week, it added, while temperatures are expected to remain around the 30C mark.

Mok Hing-yim, a senior scientific officer at the observatory, said of yesterday's record temperature: "Hagibis strengthened slightly and showed signs of taking up a more westerly track, edging closer to the coastal areas of eastern Guangdong.

"Under this situation, winds in Hong Kong were northerly and light, with plenty of sunshine, and temperatures rose to 33.5 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature recorded by the Hong Kong Observatory this year."

As predicted by the Observatory last month, typhoon season arrived a little later than usual this year - which some forecasters say may be due to the forming of the El Nino weather pattern.

The European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts says there is a 90 per cent chance of El Nino arriving this year - the first in four years.

El Nino is born out of a giant pool of warm water in the eastern tropical Pacific that sets off a chain reaction of weather events, causing droughts and floods around the world.

However, while storms in the northwestern Pacific were likely to be stronger, there was no indication that those hitting Hong Kong would be more intense, said Observatory senior scientific officer, Lee Sai-ming.

He added that there was still a lot of uncertainty about the potential strength of El Nino.

Heavier rain than usual during the winter months would likely be the biggest effect on Hong Kong.