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 is set to impact morning trading on the local bourse.
(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 is set to impact morning trading on the local bourse.
The Hong Kong Observatory issued the No. 8 storm alert at 11:50 p.m. on Sunday, after earlier raising the rarely used No. 9 signal. It earlier said the No. 8 alert is expected to remain in place for most of the morning.
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 be suspended Monday and encouraged employers to make flexible working arrangements for staff during the storm.
The typhoon was centered about 70 kilometers (44 miles) south-southwest of the Hong Kong Observatory around midnight. The storm has tracked westwards steadily over the past couple of hours and hurricane force winds are expected to gradually depart the seas south of Hong Kong. Still, “heavy squally showers” are expected over the territory Monday, the observatory said.
In the past hour, the maximum sustained winds recorded at Tate’s Cairn — a peak in Kowloon — was 75 kph, with maximum gusts exceeding 104 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.
Most of the city’s main entertainment centers including Disneyland and Ocean Park announced they were closed Sunday because of the weather, while the Hong Kong Jockey Club canceled its horse-race meeting in Sha Tin. Authorities said a total of 29 temporary shelters operated by the District Offices would be open for people in need.
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 school closures, travel disruptions.)
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