Hong Kong's Extreme Weather: How to Be Resilient and Be Prepared

Posted: Oct 26 2023Last Updated: Oct 26 2023

Hong Kong is no stranger to extreme weather events, but the recent record-breaking rainfall and severe flooding have highlighted the urgent need for enhanced disaster preparedness. This article tackles the practical steps individuals can take to better prepare for challenges brought on by climate change. The torrential rainfall and devastating flooding that struck Hong Kong in September 2023 were unprecedented (with an hourly rainfall of 158.1 millimetres).

We understand the importance of 'home' and how homes are meant to keep you safe and warm. In this stormy season, we're offering some valuable tips on how you can prepare for the following extreme weather.

A Glance at Hong Kong's Extreme Weather

Hong Kong experiences a subtropical climate with distinct seasons. Summers here can be scorching and muggy, with daytime temperatures often surpassing 32°C and humidity levels averaging over 80%. This weather sets the stage for occasional typhoons to pass by. The typhoon season in Hong Kong runs from May to late September. While storms rarely make a direct hit on the city, they have the potential to cause significant damage and pose risks. People residing on outlying islands or low-lying areas are most affected. However, it's wise for everyone, regardless of location, to take precautions and understand the various typhoon signals for safety.

Crucial Tips on How To Stay Safe in Hong Kong During Extreme Weather

  1. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest weather reports, typhoon warnings, and advisories issued by the Hong Kong Observatory. Tune in to official announcements on the radio, television, or reliable weather apps. Awareness of the typhoon's progress and intensity is the first step in staying safe. Make sure that you have access to news or radio programs, at the very least. Hong Kong has specific storm signals broadcasted by the Hong Kong Observatory's website and mobile app. Learning the different typhoon signals will help you prepare for an incoming storm.

  2. Avoid Open Spaces: Open areas can expose you to strong winds, flying debris, and rising floodwaters, putting you at risk. Seek shelter in sturdy buildings and stay indoors to protect yourself from the dangers of unpredictable weather. If possible, stay home and avoid travelling. Be careful around things like large signs, scaffolding, and trees because they might not be secure in bad weather and can be dangerous.

  3. Prepare an Emergency Kit: Having an emergency kit is essential. Include non-perishable food, drinking water, flashlights, extra batteries, and necessary medication. Ensure you have enough supplies to last a few days in case of power outages or limited store access. Shop responsibly and avoid panic buying, as overstocking can lead to shortages for others.

  4. Avoid Flooded Areas: Hong Kong is prone to heavy rainfall during typhoons, leading to flooding in low-lying areas, especially in rural districts. Avoid walking through flooded streets or places with fast-moving water. Stay away from rivers, streams, and other water sources that may overflow during typhoons.
  5. No Water Sports or Going Near Shorelines: One crucial safety measure is to avoid the shoreline and refrain from participating in water sports. Strong winds and turbulent waves can make coastal areas extremely dangerous during typhoons, posing significant risks to anyone near the water. It's best to stay far away from the shoreline to stay safe, where unpredictable surges and flooding can occur. It's also highly advisable to avoid water sports, as they can become hazardous due to the unpredictable nature of storms.

  6. Fortify your homes: Before extreme weather strikes, take action to safeguard your surroundings. Remove or firmly secure any loose objects from balconies and rooftops, as these items can become dangerous projectiles in strong winds. Ensure the safety of your home by locking all exterior-facing windows and doors. Stand clear of these openings to avoid potential hazards. Consider fitting bars or inserting reinforced typhoon shutters and gates, if available. Alternatively, you can use boards or tape to board up windows and doors, which can help minimise damage.
  7. Stay Connected: Make sure your mobile phone and other communication devices are fully charged, and keep a power bank with you. Inform your family and close friends about your situation and whereabouts. Have an emergency contact readily available in case you need assistance.
  8. Be Cautious After the Typhoon: Even after the typhoon has passed, be careful when venturing outside. Watch out for hazards such as weakened structures, downed power lines, and debris. Fallen trees and plants are common in the aftermath. Report any emergencies or threats to relevant authorities. Always prioritise your safety and follow the Hong Kong Observatory and local authorities' instructions.

Hong Kong's recent heavy rainfall and floods are a powerful reminder of the damage that monsoons bring. Remember, safety should always be a priority. As for clients seeking to buy a property in Hong Kong, they should be mindful of the trade-offs of buying properties in newer versus older buildings, particularly given the fact that typhoons and heavy rainfall are a seasonal phenomenon. Newer buildings will be less susceptible to damage from severe typhoons and heavy rain, whereas older buildings, which often are more affordable and spacious, may be prone to leaks and other issues that occur naturally as a building ages. Whichever you choose, OKAY.com offers a full range of properties throughout Hong Kong for you to choose from!


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