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Prepare for Typhoon Season in Hong Kong

Posted: May 13 2016Last Updated: May 13 2016
Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with distinct seasons. During the summer, the city can get extremely hot and humid , the hottest daytime temperature often exceeds 32°C with an average of over 80% humidity, creating favorable conditions for the occasional typhoon to skirt by. 
Hong Kong’s typhoon season begins in May and lasts through late September, with typhoons particularly prevalent during the latter months. Although typhoons rarely hit the city directly, they have potential to cause severe damage and can be quite dangerous despite Hong Kong being well equipped to handle such events. People living on outlying islands or in low-lying areas are often most affected but no matter where you live, it is worth taking a few precautions and being aware of what the various typhoon signals mean.
Hong Kong Typhoon Signals  
Hong Kong's Tropical Cyclone Warning SignalsWhen a typhoon is approaching, warnings are broadcasted on Hong Kong Observatory’s website and mobile app, television, and radio so citizens can take any necessary precautions ahead of the impending approach.
There are 5 levels of warning signals issued by the Observatory, from standby Signal No.1 to extreme strong typhoon/hurricane Signal No.10. Upon the hoisting of Signal No.8, most businesses and shops will be closed and flights are often cancelled for safety reasons.
T1: Standby. A tropical cyclone is within about 800 kilometers of Hong Kong and may affect the territory. You should take the typhoon into account when planning any outdoor activities and be aware that strong winds may occur over offshore waters. Stay alert and listen to broadcasts for updates on the typhoon’s route.
T3: Strong wind is expected to persist and gusts may exceed 100 km per hour with possible heavy rain. When a No. 3 Signal is issued, all kindergartens will be closed. 
If the No. 8 Signal is due to be hoisted, the Observatory will advise the public about two hours in advance so everyone can make necessary arrangements to find a safe place to take shelter. MTR and buses will continue to operate with strengthened service but ferries might be suspended at short notice as the storm progresses. Police will also issue regular advisory notices about road conditions.
All schools will be closed for the day, but if students are already on their way to school, schools will make special arrangements for teachers to look after them until it is safe to return home. For work arrangements, employees may refer to http://www.labour.gov.hk/eng/public/wcp/Rainstorm.pdf for detailed information.
T8: Gale or storm force wind is imminent while gusts may exceed 180 km per hour. Winds are normally expected to reach gale force within 12 hours after Signal No.8 replaces the No.3 signal. Most businesses will be closed and employees will be advised to leave work for home. 
T9: Gale or storm force wind is increasing or expected to increase significantly in strength. Stay indoors and away from exposed windows and doors to avoid flying debris.
T10: Hurricane force wind is expected or blowing with sustained speed reaching upwards of 118 km/h with gusts that may exceed 220 km/h. You should continue to remain indoors until the typhoon weakens.
Precautions Against Typhoons
Hong Kong is well prepared for typhoons so you do not need to panic. Stay alert and informed at all times and take any essential measures before gale winds commence to protect yourself from harm well in advance . Here are some general tips to get you started on your typhoon protections:
  1. Listen to weather reports on further information about the typhoon route. Pay attention to any warnings of an impending signal. The weather in different parts of the city might vary owing to local topographical conditions or the presence of nearby buildings, for example, winds are often stronger in waterfront locations and high grounds. You should not simply rely on the signal issued, also taking note of your surrounding environment and what you can observe yourself.
  2. Avoid loitering in streets or in open areas. Return home as soon as possible if conditions permit. 
  3. Stay away from hoardings, scaffoldings and temporary structures. 
  4. Stay away from the shoreline and do not engage in water sports.
  5. Remove or secure all loose objects from balconies and rooftops.
  6. Lock all exterior facing windows and doors and do not stand near them. Fit bars into positions and insert reinforced typhoon shutters and gates if available. You can also board up windows and doors with boards or tape to reduce damage.
  7. Park your car where it is least likely to be damaged.
  8. Prepare spare towels or rugs to soak up any water that might seep through window cracks.

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