The Hong Kong Observatory has announced that typhoon signal No 8 is expected to be issued at or before 5.30pm on Monday as Tropical Cyclone Merbok draws closer to the city, replacing sunny skies with squally showers. The signal No 3 currently in force indicates that winds with mean speeds of 41 to 62km/h are expected, while a signal No8 means that winds with mean speeds of 63 km/h or above are expected, with gusts possibly exceeding 180km/h. As of 3pm, Merbok was estimated to be about 120km south-southeast of Hong Kong. It was forecast to be moving north-northwest at about 20km/h towards the coast of Guangdong. “According to the current forecast track, Merbok is expected to make landfall within 100km of Hong Kong at about midnight tonight,” the Observatory announced on Monday. “Local winds will strengthen gradually during the day… As Merbok edges closer, local weather will become unsettled with occasional squally showers today. Showers will be heavy with winds strengthening further tonight.” The Observatory warned the public to stay away from the shore and not to do water sports. Temperatures were expected to range between 27 and 32 degrees Celsius on Monday. The government announced that all classes at all schools were suspended on Monday. But staff should implement contingency measures to ensure the safety of students who were already back at school. Staff should also ensure that the conditions were safe before they allowed students to return home. In addition, all childcare centres, centres providing after school care programmes, elderly services centres and day rehabilitation units remain open. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department announced that lifesaving services at Hap Mun Bay Beach, Kiu Tsui Beach and Trio Beach have been suspended, as lifeguards are unable to reach the destinations by ferry due to rough sea conditions. The department advised beach-goers not to swim at those beaches until further notice. Cathay Pacific Airways had five flights cancelled and two flights delayed on Monday. The airline plans to cancel four flights and delay one flight on Tuesday.