The Hong Kong Observatory issued the Hurricane Signal No. 10 – the city’s highest storm signal – at 8.15 pm on Friday, as Super Typhoon Saola approached the city.
“This means that winds with mean speeds of 118 kilometres per hour or more are expected. Do not go outside and stay away from exposed windows and doors,” the Observatory said.
“The eyewall of Super Typhoon Saola is now moving across Hong Kong, posing a high threat to Hong Kong,” the Observatory added.
According to its present track, Saola is forecast to skirt within 40 kilometres of Hong Kong on Friday night.
The T10 signal, the city’s highest storm warning, is “expected to remain in force for some time,” the Observatory said, advising members of the public to stay on high alert.
Water levels in low-lying coastal areas were expected to rise rapidly overnight, possibly reaching historical records. Shing Mun River, Tai Po, Sha Tau Kok and Sai Kung have been hardest hit so far, according to the Observatory.
Mainland China’s weather service warned that Saola could be “the strongest typhoon to make landfall in the Pearl River Delta since 1949,” in a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo on Friday. As well as the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, the Pearl River Delta region comprises Shenzhen, Guangzhou and other major cities in southern China.
As of 6 pm, the city had opened 39 temporary shelters, with 331 people having sought refuge, the government said.
There have been 29 reports of fallen trees, seven confirmed flooding cases, and three men have been injured during the typhoon period, according to the government.
Schools will remain closed on Saturday.
It is the first time since 2018 that the Observatory has raised its highest warning. According to the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers and the Observatory, Mangkhut caused economic losses of HK$4.6 billion when the T10 storm hit in September of that year, and 200 people were injured.
Typhoon Signal 10
Hurricane force winds are blowing or expected to blow when the No.10 signal is issued – it is the highest warning signal the Observatory can hoist.
- Citizens are urged to stay indoors and away from exposed windows and doors.
- Temporary shelters for people with no safe refuge will be opened.
- All government facilities and all schools will be closed.
- There will be no bus or ferry services, but trains will run in the underground sections of some MTR lines, if conditions permit.
- If the eye of the tropical cyclone passes directly over Hong Kong, there may be a temporary lull. The Hong Kong Observatory warns that this lull will be followed by a sudden resumption of violent winds, so residents in a safe place should stay where they are.
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