The SAR was last night warned of an increase in typhoons in the coming rainy season as the El Nino phenomenon that kept them at bay last year dies away. El Nino brought a record 3,343 mm of rain to Hong Kong during last year's wet season but also reduced the average number of tropical cyclones - typhoons at their most severe - from seven to two. Now forecasters are predicting that as El Nino dies out in the middle of the year, severe storms could be back with a vengeance. 'Don't relax,' Hong Kong Observatory director Dr Lam Hung-kwan said. 'We had fewer cyclones last year but I urge the public to be careful. The number is likely to return to normal.' The expected easing of El Nino is based on calculations by meteorologists around the world, but Dr Lam said its elusive nature meant nothing was certain. The public was urged to check hinges, bolts and window shutters before the onset of the typhoon season in the middle of next month. Owners of slopes should ensure they are in good condition. New services will be introduced by the observatory this month including extending forecasts from three days to four and an improved rainstorm early-warning system. Landslides caused by heavy rain killed two people last year. The 1997 rainfall was the highest since records began in 1884.