During summer, typhoons, or as their known in Hong Kong, tropical cyclones, regularly skirt the city, causing varying degrees of damage and on rare occasions injuries and deaths.
Typhoon season runs from May through to late September, with September particularly susceptible to typhoons. Although the danger of these massive storms shouldn’t be underplayed, Hong Kong is adept in dealing with them, and surprisingly, unless the city suffers a ‘direct hit’, your holiday plans shouldn’t be blown to far off course.
Luckily, Hong Kong has an easy warning system which lets you know what intensity of storm is coming your way. The warning system is posted on all TV Stations (look for the box in the top right hand corner), and most buildings will also have signs with the warnings on. See below for an explanation of the various signs.
T1. This simply means that a Typhoon has been spotted; it will however, be a few days away from Hong Kong. Although it is unlikely that there will be an affect to weather conditions, this warning is intended as a notice for further developments.
T3. Now things are taking a turn for the worse. Winds of up to 110km are expected in Victoria Harbor. You should tie down any objects on balconies and rooftops, and stay away from coastal areas. Depending on the severity of the winds, you may want to stay indoors. However, until winds really pick-up, Hong Kong will carry on as normal, T3’s happen periodically over the typhoon season. Flights may be delayed or cancelled, but it is unlikely.
T8. Time to baton down the hatches. Winds in Victoria Harbor may now be in excess of 180km. All work, and most public transport will be cancelled. You should stay indoors and stay away from exposed windows. If you’re staying in an older building, you may want to fix adhesive tape to the windows, this will reduce the possibility of injury, if the window should shatter. Most restaurants will be closed, however hotel restaurants will continue to function. Most, if not all flights will be cancelled or diverted.
T10. Known locally as a ‘direct hit, a T10 means the eye of the storm will be parking itself directly over Hong Kong. The city hasn’t suffered a ‘direct hit’ in a number of years, however when one does hit, the damage can be immense, and sadly a number of people are usually killed. You should follow the directions for a T8 and tune into local news for more information. Remember there may be a lull in the storm, when the eye is directly over Hong Kong, you should however stay indoors, as the wind will return.