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Hong Kong weather

Hong Kong Observatory issues amber rainstorm warning alongside Strong Wind Signal No 3

Eight reports so far of fallen trees and one of a collapsed wall

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2016, 9:34am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2016, 9:31pm

The Hong Kong Observatory has issued an amber rainstorm warning alongside the Strong Wind Signal No 3 issued on Monday as Typhoon Sarika sweeps across the South China Sea.

The amber warning posted at 3.10pm on Tuesday means heavy rain has fallen or is expected to fall generally over the city, exceeding 30mm in an hour.

The Observatory warned of flooding in some low-lying and poorly drained areas. Eight instances of fallen trees and one of a collapsed wall were reported between 6am and 2.30pm on Tuesday.

Operations at Hong Kong International Airport had not been interrupted so far, an Airport Authority spokeswoman said. But the number of delayed or cancelled flights was unavailable.

Despite expected wild winds and heavy rain on Tuesday night, Mok Hing Yim, senior scientific officer at the Observatory, said the situation would ease on Wednesday, with Sarika moving away from the city.

But he warned the public to watch out for Super Typhoon Haima, which is due to edge closer to the coast of Guangdong on Friday. “Under the influence of Haima, the weather in Hong Kong will be rather unsettled towards the weekend.”

The Observatory said the city could face later-than-usual typhoons this year due to changing weather patterns. The strongest El Nino phenomena in years has been succeeded by La Nina, Observatory director Shun Chi-ming said earlier.

El Nino refers to sea surface temperatures being unusually warm, while La Nina, which brings cooler-than-usual sea temperatures, is typically followed by typhoons, Shun said.

The local weather authority earlier announced that it would consider replacing the Strong Wind Signal No 3 with the Strong Monsoon Signal later on Tuesday as Sarika drew further from the city.

Classes atkindergartens, schools for children with physical disabilities, and schools for children with intellectual disabilities were suspended for the day.

“Sarika is tracking towards Hainan and will make landfall around noon today,” the Observatory said. “Its direct threat to Hong Kong will decrease gradually. Under the combined effect of Sarika and the northeast monsoon, strong winds are expected to persist over offshore waters for most of the time today.”

At 6pm on Tuesday, Sarika was estimated to be about 580km southwest of Hong Kong and forecast to move northwest at about 15km/h across Hainan.

The temperature on Tuesday was expected to range between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius. It will be cloudy with heavy rains at times. There will also be rough seas and swells.

Looking ahead, the mercury is forecast to reach 24 to 28 degrees on Wednesday, and 25 to 31 degrees on Thursday.

Additional reporting by Nikki Sun