Typhoon possibly headed for Hong Kong next week
Tropical storm ‘Carina’ off eastern coast of Philippines could arc northwest towards city
A typhoon could strike within range of Hong Kong next week as a tropical depression intensifies off the eastern coast of the Philippines.
The Philippines weather bureau’s estimated path for the storm, named “Carina”, shows it will arc in a north-westerly direction, making landfall off the northern tip of the island of Luzon by Sunday evening, and moving west across the country.
It is then set to head north up the South China Sea towards the Guangdong, putting it on a path close to Hong Kong.
However, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has a model that predicts the city could take a direct hit.
The Hong Kong Observatory remained uncertain about the movement and impact of the storm.
“The area of low pressure now over the seas east of the Philippines will develop into a tropical cyclone today (Friday) or tomorrow,” the Observatory weather bulletin said.
“It is expected to enter the northern part of the South China Sea and intensify gradually early next week. There is uncertainty in regard to its subsequent movement, and it may bring squally heavy showers to the coast of Guangdong early to midweek next week.”
Locally, the weather is set to turn decidedly unsettled, with wet and windy weather, according to the Observatory.
The mercury will remain high at up to 34 degrees Celsius in urban areas on Saturday. Sunday will be hot, but with outbreaks of isolated showers.
In response to questions from the Post, metrological website Weather Underground said comparing the Philippines and ECMWF assessments was like “comparing apples to oranges”. meaning both methods of forecast drew different conclusions.
The ECMWF prediction using a computer would lack key data whereas weather agencies like the Hong Kong Observatory and Philippines counterparts would make predictions based on human factors and all available data.
“As the tropical cyclone has not formed yet, no subjective forecasts will be issued by weather agencies – all we can refer to are the objective forecasts and make own judgment. This can be a problem if the person is not experienced in weather forecasting. However, objective forecasts are easily accessible to the public as open source data now,” said weather website director Clarence Fong, insisting it was too early to tell what impact the depression would have.
While the typhoon could pass within 400km of Hong Kong, which would trigger a typhoon warning, Fong said the average 120-hour (five day) forecast error was about 300–350km for both objective (ECMWF) and subjective (HKO, Philippines) forecasts last year.