Hong Kong braces for Super Typhoon Haima
Observatory predicts later-than-expected storms and cooler weather as La Nina phenomenon sets in
Hong Kong is bracing for another typhoon that is expected to bring even more downpours and gale-force winds in the next few days, after a string of rainstorm warnings on Wednesday saw flash floods that left many parts of the city inundated.
Tropical cyclone standby signal No 1 was issued at 8.20am on Thursday, with Super Typhoon Haima on a collision course for the city. The storm could come within 100km of the city on Friday, based on its current projected track.
The Observatory said the city could experience later-than-usual typhoons and cooler temperatures this year due to changing weather patterns.
Senior scientific officer Mok Hing-yim said the city was likely to be affected by a Li Nina phenomenon in the coming months, which typically brings typhoons. Temperatures would also be lower than usual, he added.
The downpours on Wednesday, brought by the northeast monsoon at the tail end of a previous typhoon, caused serious road flooding and traffic congestion. Many students and workers were stranded on their way.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Marcelo Dini, a Shek O resident, as he tried to make his way home, wading in knee-deep water in a business suit.
“There are waterfalls of muddy water five feet wide rolling down the hill.”
Dini had to get out of a taxi after the driver refused to go any further at the Tai Tam roundabout and wait for an hour at a bus stop but to no avail. He decided to walk home instead.
“I wish I had my gym clothes with me, it would then just be a walk in the rain,” he said.
Cars on Shek O Road broke down as they became submerged in floods in the afternoon.
The black rainstorm warning signal, the highest on the scale which means an average rainfall of 70 millimetres an hour, was issued at 4pm, but normalcy was gradually restored at 7.30pm.
Wong Kam-wong, who has lived in Chai Wan for more than a decade, was surprised at a flash flood so strong it left ruptured sidewalks in the district.
“I have lived here for a few decades,” he said. “But I have never seen anything like that.
Shirley So’s funeral goods store near Youth Square in Chai Wan was hit hard by falling loose bricks and rubble. She said the torrential rain had ruined stocks worth about HK$10,000.
“I was rolling up my pants while scrambling to save my stock from the flood,” she said, adding that she was wading in knee-deep water.
Additional reporting by Nectar Gan and Josh Ye