Signal No 3 to be issued if Tropical Storm Barijat edges closer to Hong Kong as Super Typhoon Mangkhut looms in distance
The super typhoon has a 50 per cent chance of passing over Hong Kong in the next nine days
The Hong Kong Observatory will consider issuing typhoon signal No 3 on Wednesday if Tropical Storm Barijat edges closer to the city and brings strong winds but it also warned Hongkongers to brace themselves for Super Typhoon Mangkhut over the weekend.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mangkhut was about 2,800km away from Hong Kong in the Pacific Ocean but was forecast to move towards the South China Sea in the coming days. It has a 50 per cent chance of passing over Hong Kong in the next nine days.
At midnight, Tropical Storm Barijat was about 340km east-southeast of the city and estimated to move west at about 14km/h. Earlier in the day at 10.40am, the weather agency issued the No 1 signal as Barijat headed towards the western coast of Guangdong province.
“Barijat is expected to edge slightly closer to the Pearl River Estuary [on Wednesday] and its associated squally showers will affect Hong Kong gradually,” the Observatory said.
It advised residents to check on the latest weather information before leaving home on Wednesday morning.
The Observatory added that its forecasts showed Mangkhut would move closer to the South China Sea by the weekend. It could be “very close” to Hong Kong then, the agency’s acting senior scientific officer Daniel Yeung Kwok-chung said.
“If Mangkhut passes through Luzon [in the Philippines] or Taiwan before entering South China Sea, its strength could be reduced with the impact of land,” he said, noting that the super typhoon was now forecast to enter the South China Sea after passing through the Luzon Strait.
For now, the weather on Sunday is expected to be cloudy with frequent heavy rain and thunderstorms. The wind could go up to a Force 8 gale.
The Observatory said Mangkhut’s outer subsiding air would bring generally fine and very hot weather to Guangdong on Friday and early Saturday.
Hong Kong-based airlines Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon on Tuesday announced they would waive charges for rebooking or re-routing tickets for flights arriving to or departing from Hong Kong between Sunday and Monday, September 16 and 17.
Only tickets issued worldwide on or before Tuesday, September 11, would be eligible for the waiver.
Hong Kong Airlines had a similar arrangement, which would apply to flights between September 16 and 18.
On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Department recorded “higher than normal” air pollution levels and said the air quality health index at some air monitoring stations might reach “serious”, the highest level of the index, later in the day.
At 5pm, five stations – including those in Tuen Mun and Tung Chung– recorded an air pollution level of 10, indicating a “very high” health risk.
Levels at the remaining 11 stations ranged from 6 to 9, indicating a “moderate” to “very high” health risk.