Typhoon Meranti leads triple weather threat across Asia as Hong Kong braces for wet Mid-Autumn Festival
Airlines cancel flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong as storm expected to be biggest to hit city this year
Super typhoon Meranti is on course to wash out Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, with the weather forecast set to deteriorate by Thursday.
Tropical cyclone signal No 1, the standby signal, will be issued on Wednesday ahead of the storm, expected to be the biggest to hit the city this year in terms of intensity, with the possibility of strong wind signal No 3 being issued Thursday.
But a No 8 signal may not be issued, the Hong Kong Observatory said.
“The advice to the public is stay alert and take all cautionary measures before Thursday,” Lam Ching-chi, senior scientific officer at the Observatory, said.
“We expect the weather to deteriorate on Thursday, but the exact timing ... we have to take a closer look at the time.
Taiwan-based carriers China Airlines and Mandarin Airlines cancelled flights for Wednesday between Taiwan and Hong Kong. The flights included CI7867 and CI 7868 from and to Tainan, AE981 and AE986 from and to Kaohsiung and CI947 Kaohsiung to Hong Kong.
The unsettled weather was expected to last until Friday, before easing off into the weekend.
A pack of cyclones is creating unsettled weather across Asia.
Of greatest concern is Meranti. As the super typhoon is expected to skirt the southern coast of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the city evacuated nearly 1,800 tourists from offshore islands and closed some schools and offices.
Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau said the typhoon was maintaining its strength and speed, and its impact would be strongest Wednesday and Thursday.
Named after a type of tree from Malaysia, Meranti is set to bring heavy, squally showers and clouds, disrupting Hongkongers’ moon-gazing and traditional lantern displays for the festival, the Observatory said.
As the super typhoon nears the city, it will bring temperatures of up to 34 degrees Celsius Wednesday, coupled with some haze and thunderstorms.
Ingredients for a major storm were brewing Tuesday close to the eastern Philippines, namely tropical depression Malakas.
But its early track suggested it may head towards the southern tip of Japan and brush past eastern Taiwan.
Also lurking was tropical depression Rai, around 1,000km away from Hong Kong and creating unsettled weather across central Vietnam.
Additional reporting by AFP