Typhoon signal No 3 issued as winds strengthen in HK with Tropical Storm Barijat’s approach

13-Sep-2018 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The Hong Kong Observatory issued the typhoon signal No 3 at 12.20pm on Wednesday as Tropical Storm Barijat moved closer to the city.

The alert means strong winds are expected or are blowing generally in Hong Kong near sea level, with a sustained speed of 41km/h to 62km/h and gusts which may exceed 110km/h. The wind conditions are expected to persist.

Classes at kindergartens and schools for children with disabilities were suspended earlier in the day in anticipation of a strong wind warning being issued.

These schools, however, should keep their premises open and carry out contingency measures to look after arriving students, the weather authority said. The schools should also ensure that conditions are safe before allowing students to return home.

At 1pm, Barijat was estimated to be about 170km south-southeast of the city and was expected to move west at 18km/h towards the coast of western Guangdong province.

The storm was expected to skirt more than 100km south of Hong Kong in the afternoon, the forecaster said, adding that local winds would strengthen gradually.

But the chance of issuing the typhoon signal No 8 was low, it said, unless Barijat moved closer to the Pearl River Estuary or intensified significantly.

Rain aside, the Observatory, which had issued the typhoon signal No 1 at 10.40am on Tuesday, said the weather on Wednesday was forecast to be sunny at times. The maximum temperature was expected to be about 30 degrees Celsius.

“The weather will deteriorate significantly with frequent heavy rain, and seas will be rough with swells on Sunday,” it said.

In addition to Barijat, the weather authority earlier warned Hongkongers to brace themselves for Super Typhoon Mangkhut over the weekend.

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 the South China Sea, its strength could be reduced with the impact of land,” he said, noting that the super typhoon was forecast to enter the South China Sea after passing through the Luzon Strait.

The Observatory predicted a 40 to 50 per cent chance that Mangkhut would pass within 120km of Hong Kong.

According to the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau, the super typhoon was predicted to be closest to the island on Saturday, with a maximum wind speed near the centre used to measure typhoon intensity of 198km/h.

The super typhoon will then continue to move west and approach Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Observatory’s typhoon tracking system, last updated on Tuesday, showed Mangkhut was likely to sweep past the city on Sunday about 70km southwest of the forecaster’s headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui, with a maximum wind speed near centre of 210km/h.

While the forecast track indicates the most likely future path of the super typhoon, the path can deviate from that predicted.

The deviation can be particularly large if a typhoon is three days or more from the forecast position.

The Observatory’s tracking system shows a 70 per cent probability that Mangkhut could deviate within a 500km radius from the predicted closest position to the city, which means there is still a lot of uncertainty in its path.

Under the tropical cyclone classification system, typhoons have an intensity of between 118km/h and 149km/h, severe typhoons range between 150km/h and 184km/h, while super typhoons see a maximum wind speed near the centre of 185km/h or above.

The weather on Sunday was 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.

Airlines based in the city Cathay Pacific Airways and Cathay Dragon, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express announced they would waive rebooking fees for passengers scheduled to travel on Sunday and Monday, with some conditions attached.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon said only tickets issued worldwide on or before Tuesday, September 11, would be eligible for the rebooking and rerouting fee waiver.

Hong Kong Airlines had a similar arrangement for flights between September 16 and 18, while HK Express said it would waive fees for rescheduled trips on the same route but would charge the fare difference if the route changed.

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.



Category: Hong Kong

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