Typhoon No 1 standby signal issued as Hong Kong sees final day of sunshine ahead of tropical storm
Forecasters expect a week of heavy downpours and high winds as city sees first significant storm event of the year
The Hong Kong Observatory issued the No 1 standby signal on Sunday night as Tropical Cyclone Merbok came within 510km of the city by 10pm.
It was forecast to move at about 20km/h across the northern part of the South China Sea and was scheduled to make landfall within 200km of Hong Kong between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
The Observatory said unless Merbok intensified markedly or takes on a more westerly track, it did not expect local winds to strengthen significantly on Monday morning.
The Observatory warned the public to take precautions against storm damage, such as clearing gutters and drains for obstructions and to check doors and windows.
Sea swells were expected and people should stay away from shorelines and engaging in water sports, it added.
The Marine Department said vessel owners and operators should properly secure their boats at safe locations.
The name of the tropical cyclone was coined by Malaysia and refers to a type of spotted-neck dove commonly found in rural areas of the country.
Ahead of the city’s first typhoon signal of the year, many Hongkongers were on Sunday enjoying a final day of sunshine before an anticipated week of heavy downpours.
The sun continued to beat down on the city over the weekend as temperatures exceeded 30 degrees Celsius, reaching 34 degrees at Tai Mei Tuk in the New Territories, according to the Observatory.
Many locals and tourists rushed to enjoy Hong Kong’s beaches, parks and tourist attractions to make the most of the good weather.
Instagram users shared photographs of perfect blue skies, stunning scenery and a picturesque Hong Kong skyline.
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As it issued a hot weather warning, a spokesman for the Observatory said conditions were expected to remain “mainly fine apart from isolated showers” and would be “very hot during the day with light to moderate southeasterly winds”.
He said they could become “unsettled gradually later on Monday, with some showers on Tuesday.”
“Tropical Cyclone Merbok will make landfall over Guangdong between Monday night and Tuesday morning,” he said.
“A trough of low pressure will linger over the south China coast in the middle and latter parts of this week. It will continue to bring showers and thunderstorms to the region.”
On Sunday, the Observatory advised Honkongers to take precautions to prevent heat stroke, such as avoiding prolonged outdoor activities, wearing sun screen and drinking plenty of water.
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The Labour Department simultaneously advised employers to protect their employees from heat stroke, including “providing cool drinking water, setting up temporary sunshade and providing mechanical aids to reduce physical exertion of employees.”
In 2016, the first typhoon signal of the year was issued on May 26.
Additional reporting by Ernest Kao