Hong Kong issued its third-highest storm alert for Typhoon Koinu and expects to leave it in place until at least 11 a.m. Monday, a move that would halt morning trading on the city’s $4.8 trillion stock market.
(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong issued its third-highest storm alert for Typhoon Koinu and expects to leave it in place until at least 11 a.m. Monday, a move that would halt morning trading on the city’s $4.8 trillion stock market.
The Hong Kong Observatory issued the No. 8 storm alert at 11:50 p.m. on Sunday, after earlier raising the No. 9 signal. At 4 a.m., it issued a black rainstorm warning — the highest — as Koinu brought torrential rain to the city.
Under Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. rules, the morning trading session will be canceled if a No. 8 signal or higher is still in force after 9 a.m. The government also announced that schools will remain closed Monday and encouraged employers to make flexible working arrangements for staff during the storm.
The typhoon was centered about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of the Hong Kong Observatory at 4 a.m. The storm has tracked westwards steadily and hurricane force winds are expected to gradually depart the seas south of Hong Kong. Still, the radar indicated that Koinu’s rain bands extend 200 km to the east of its center, bringing squalls to the Pearl River Estuary Monday morning, the observatory said.
In the past hour, the maximum sustained winds recorded at Tate’s Cairn — a peak in Kowloon — was 78 kph, with maximum gusts exceeding 95 kph per hour.
The typhoon’s approach comes after the city experienced repeated bouts of extreme weather in recent weeks. Hong Kong raised its No. 10 signal last month for the first time in five years when Typhoon Saola pummeled the territory.
In addition to Saola, record-breaking rain caused by the remnants of Typhoon Haikui flooded streets, submerged vehicles and triggered landslides. A lack of forewarning about the intensity of the rain prompted public criticism of authorities.
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, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steven Lam said in a note.
Hong Kong’s Weather Is Getting Hotter, Wetter and Wilder
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.
Buses and train services were suspended during the No. 9 signal, which was issued at 7 p.m. That meant hundreds of passengers were left stranded at Hong Kong International Airport Sunday evening, where long lines formed for taxis.
After the signal was lowered at midnight, rail operator MTR Corp. said train services had resumed operating at “limited” frequencies while bus services were still suspended.
Typhoon Koinu, which means puppy in Japanese, earlier brushed past the southern tip of Taiwan, killing one and injuring more than 300 people, according to official figures. Despite projections by regional observatories that the storm would continue to weaken after passing Taiwan, Koinu rebuilt its eyewall and regained strength.
–With assistance from Jane Zhang, Shiyin Chen, Tania Chen and Young-Sam Cho.
(Updates with black rainstorm warning in second paragraph)
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