The Hong Kong Observatory raised the No. 8 storm signal at 1:40 p.m. on Wednesday as Severe Tropical Storm Nalgae neared the city.
Weather authorities reminded members of the public to avoid low-lying areas, and return home or stay in a safe place.
Under the impact of Nalgae, classes at all schools were suspended on Wednesday in view of the looming signal upgrade. The No. 3 storm signal had been in force since Monday afternoon.
Before the Observatory raised the signal, the MTR Corporation said it had increased the frequency of its train services to allow commuters to safely return home. Passengers were advised to stagger their departures from work to avoid overcrowding at stations, the company added.
Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry Limited, which runs ferry routes including those between Central and Lamma Island, also announced the suspension of its services, with its last sailings scheduled between 2:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Additionally, the Hong Kong Jockey Club said it had cancelled Wednesday’s evening horse races, and exams administered by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority were postponed.
Meanwhile, an international banking summit at the Four Seasons Hotel – with the leaders of the world’s top banks in attendance – went on uninterrupted. Authorities have hailed the event as a symbol of Hong Kong’s reopening amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Strong winds on Tuesday uprooted a 10-metre tree in Mong Kok on Tuesday, crushing a lamp post and crashing into a building.
“Although Nalgae will weaken gradually, its degree of weakening remains uncertain,” the Observatory said earlier.
Nalgae battered the Philippines en route to Hong Kong, killing at least 132 people as torrential rains swept the country and triggered deadly landslides.
Wednesday marked the third time the No. 8 signal has been issued this year.
Typhoon Signal 8
When the No. 8 signal is issued, gale or storm force winds are affecting, or expected to affect, Hong Kong.
- The Hong Kong Observatory will make a special announcement within two hours before the signal is hoisted. Most offices and businesses will then close and people without special reasons for staying out are expected to go home.
- All school classes and most government services will halt.
- Ferry services will give notice as to when they will stop running, while most bus routes will halt within two hours after the signal is issued.
- MTR trains will run normally unless weather conditions worsen.
- Citizens should return home or stay in a safe place, and avoid low-lying areas likely to be flooded.
- Temporary shelters will be opened in government buildings for people with no safe refuge.
Rare November storm
While Hong Kong’s summer months are prone to typhoons, storms towards the end of the year are rare.
Severe Tropical Storm Nalgae marks the first time in 50 years that the city has raised the No. 8 storm signal in November, according to Observatory data. In 1972, Typhoon Pamela killed one woman and brought flooding to low-lying areas, records from the Hong Kong Observatory showed.
Rain and cool temperatures are forecast in the days ahead, with sunny weather expected next week.
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