On Wednesday, Hong Kong was battered by Typhoon Hato, the strongest storm to hit the city since 2012. The Observatory raised the T10 Hurricane signal at 9:10am. Hato coincided with high tides, meaning an abnormally high sea level rise.
Around the city, public transport ground to a halt as citizens braced themselves and their property for the onslaught…
Among the most heavily hit areas of the city was Lamma Island. There was widespread flooding and felled trees, as waste and debris could be seen washing ashore…
Video footage of the storm showed a gondola smashing into an apartment building, appearing to break several windows.
Lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting of the Democratic Party criticised the management company and technicians for being irresponsible. He said that according to regulations, gondolas must not be used in poor weather, so it is hard to understand why one would be outside the building while a T10 signal was raised. Lam said he would ask the government to investigate.
Although traffic largely ground to a halt for the duration of the typhoon, a car was seen crossing a causeway from Pearl Island to Gold Coast near Tuen Mun.
In the afternoon, the government reported that its 1823 call centre had received 466 reports of fallen trees. Debris could also be seen strewn across the city’s streets.
The Drainage Services Department said that it received four reports of flooding and one report of a landslide.
A 1.9 metre deep carpark in Heng Fa Chuen, holding up to 100 cars, was also flooded. Six metre waves were whipped up by the typhoon along the coast, as heavy rainfall worsened the situation. Many owners wondered if insurers would cover the “act of God.”
Citizens were not the only ones to seek shelter during the storm. Around 20,000 cockroaches were spotted attempting to escape flooding near the coast at Nossa Senhora de Fátima in Macau.
At 6:26pm, the Observatory downgraded the storm warning signal to T1, as Hong Kong returned to normal. In Macau, the typhoon claimed 3 lives, while 2 people remained missing as of Wednesday evening.