Hong Kong likely to escape season's first super typhoon - but city will swelter

The Observatory warns that the storm is expected to push temperatures higher in the city

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 July, 2014, 10:22am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 1:33pm

The first super typhoon of the season is expected to hit Japan on Wednesday - and could make life a little more uncomfortable for Hongkongers too, after a record-breaking hot June.

The city is almost certain to escape the impact of the Super Typhoon Neoguri, which is expected to swing towards the south of Japan, but the hot weather of the last few days is likely to continue under its influence.

Neoguri, which means raccoon in Korean, is described by the Observatory as a 'super typhoon', meaning it has sustained wind speeds of 185km/h or above.

A statement on the Observatory website, updated this morning, read: "At 8am Super Typhoon Neoguri was centred about 660 kilometres south of Okinawa. It is forecast to move northwest or north-northwest at about 22 kilometres per hour towards the seas east of Taiwan and the vicinity of the Ryukyu Islands."

Observatory scientific officer Tam Yee-ting said there is "little chance" that Neoguri will hit Hong Kong as storms usually move along the edge of the subtropical ridge, which is off the coast of Japan and Taiwan.

But Hong Kong will feel the impact as the typhoon's outer air mass brings more hot weather to an already stifling July. Temperatures today and tomorrow are again expected to tip 33C.

Experts say the Neoguri is most likely to affect Japan on Tuesday and Wednesday, with sustained winds of about 220km/h, while gusts may be well over 300km/h.

An official from Japan's meteorological agency warned those in the typhoon's path: "Please be vigilant, stay inside buildings and avoid working outside and making unnecessary trips.

The official warned that the storm could pack “record level” winds and  generate high waves. 

“It is likely to come closest to Okinawa Tuesday morning, generating violent gales and high waves... and, in some areas, violent rains,” he said. ”Please be ready to evacuate before heavy rains begin to fall.”

Watch: How typhoons are formed

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said wave heights in the Pacific Ocean were hitting a maximum of almost 12 metres.

Showers are likely to creep in to Hong Kong on Wednesday, while next weekend will be mainly cloudy, the Observatory said. Temperatures will be a couple of degrees lower, but with increased humidity.

A record temperature for this year of 33.8 degrees Celsius was recorded both on Friday and Saturday, because of the presence of hot air in the upper atmosphere caused by an anticyclone over the coast of southern China.

An El Nino weather pattern experts say will probably form this year, due to a warming Pacific, will likely give Hong Kong a wetter winter and spring than usual.

El Nino plays havoc with the world's climate, causing droughts in some parts of the world and flooding in others. 

Hong Kong sees hottest June on record

For those who have been out and about over the last few weeks it may come as no surprise, but the weather in June was the hottest Hong Kong has seen since records began back in 1884.

Despite a near-average amount of sunshine and only a slightly lower rainfall than normal, Hong Kong Observatory said the monthly mean temperatures was 29C – 1.1C above normal for June.

The statistic is one of several records broken this year. Giant hailstones accompanied the highest single hour of rainfall seen in March on the 30th of the month, with 56 millimetres falling between 9pm and 10pm.

VOX POP. We asked: How do you cope with the heat?

Wong Siu-king, 80, retired Daniel Chan, 25, accountant

Hong Kong is always hot, I’m used to it! I continue strolling ... and just let myself sweat. I bring an umbrella, though

I stay at home more. If I go out, I wear sunglasses, short sleeved T-shirts, and shorts. Definitely no jeans

That night the Observatory raised the earliest ‘black rainstorm’ signal in any given year since the revision of the three-level rainstorm warning in 1998.

That was followed on May 8 another ‘black’ signal, breaking another record – it was the first time since 1998’s revision that two black rainstorms had hit Hong Kong before June.

A statement issued by Hong Kong Observatory on June’s weather said: “With the monthly mean temperature reaching 29.0 degrees, June 2014 was the hottest June in Hong Kong since records began in 1884.

Lui Wan-fung, 32, handyman Tsui Kit, 84, retired photographer

I go swimming and stay at home more. When I go out, I stay in shopping malls and avoid the outdoors. I also drink more water

I shower at least three times a day. I turn on the air-conditioner and the fan. Also, I eat watermelon and drink melon soup 

“The monthly mean minimum temperature of 27.) degrees and maximum temperature of 31.5 degrees were respectivelyone of the second and third highest for June.

“Such high temperatures were attained despite the facts that sunshine duration and rainfall for the month were not far from normal.

“The total rainfall for the month was 436.6 millimetres, about four per cent below the normal figures of 456.1 millimetres.”

With additional reporting from Gloria Chan