Hong Kong said it will raise its storm warning level Sunday as Typhoon Koinu approaches, just a month after the city was hit by record-breaking rain that followed its strongest typhoon in five years
(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong said it will raise its storm warning level Sunday as Typhoon Koinu approaches, just a month after the city was hit by record-breaking rain that followed its strongest typhoon in five years
At 12.40 p.m., the Observatory will lift the current No. 3 signal to the No. 8, the third highest on its scale of five, the weather agency said on its website. The elevated alert effectively shuts down the city, with subway trains run at limited frequencies and most stores, restaurants and businesses closed.
Koinu was estimated to be 100 kilometers (62 miles) south-southeast of Hong Kong as of 10 a.m. and was forecast to slowly move west northwest toward the Pearl River estuary, according to the Observatory. Gale winds are expected to affect many parts of the finance hub and heavy squally showers may last through Monday, it said.
If the higher signal is lifted it will be the second straight year the No. 8 warning has been raised three times, compared with an annual average of twice in the decade through 2022, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steven Lam said in a note. Hong Kong insurance claims caused by natural disasters may climb to a record and exceed $500 million this year should Koinu bring more heavy rain and cause flood losses, Lam said.
Maximum sustained winds recorded at the city’s Tate’s Cairn were 73 kph in the morning with gusts exceeding 112 kph. The Hong Kong Jockey Club announced that its horseracing meeting in Sha Tin was canceled “in the interest of public and equine safety.”
Late last week, Typhoon Koinu brushed past the southern tip of Taiwan, killing one and injuring more than 300 people, according to official figures.
Typhoon Koinu Hits Taiwan With One of Strongest Wind Gusts Ever
Hong Kong lies at the northern fringe of the subtropical zone and has suffered a period of extreme weather this year. Just over a month ago, the city was hit by its strongest typhoon in five years. With a maximum sustained wind of 230 kph near its center, Saola was the second-most intense tropical cyclone affecting the South China Sea since 1950, according to Hong Kong’s observatory.
Days later, record-breaking rain caused by the remnants of Typhoon Haikui flooded streets, submerged vehicles and triggered landslides.
The unique topography of Hong Kong — roads and buildings cut into steep hillsides — makes the city vulnerable to flooding and landslides from torrential summer rains that have steadily intensified over time due to climate change.
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