Hong Kong issues lowest typhoon warning as Saola edges closer

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s observatory issued its lowest typhoon signal on Wednesday as Typhoon Saola moved across the northeastern part of the South China Sea to edge closer to the Asian financial hub.

The typhoon is expected to sweep the coast of China’s southern province of Guangdong this week before closing in on Chinese-ruled Hong Kong on Friday and Saturday, although conditions could change.

“There are still quite a lot of variables over the track and intensity going forward, because it will be affected by a northeast monsoon,” said public broadcaster RTHK, citing weather official Kong Yu-chau.

Saola brushed the southern tip of Taiwan on Wednesday bringing heavy rain and winds that disrupted some travel and prompted the island to issue land and sea warnings.

China has ordered fishing boats to return to ports along its southeastern coast as gale force winds and gusts whip across the South China Sea.

Hong Kong ranks typhoons on a scale ranging from 1 at its lowest to 10 at the strongest.

(Reporting by Twinnie Siu; Writing by Farah Master; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)