Typhoon veers - but big hit still coming

Top News | Jane Cheung 14 Sep 2018

Super Typhoon Mangkhut is veering south but powerful winds will still sweep Hong Kong on Sunday, the weatherman says.

The observatory yesterday adjusted the forecast route for the typhoon, expecting it to skirt 200 kilometers south of the city on Sunday instead of closing in to within 100km.

But due to Mangkhut's strong and large circulation, the offshore wind force forecast on Sunday was changed from gale to storm, indicating an offshore wind speed of between 88 and 103 kilometers an hour.

Senior scientific officer Olivia Lee Shuk-ming said Mangkhut's wind speed near its center was 240km/h.

"Although it'll become weaker after passing through the Luzon Strait [tomorrow], we still expect its wind speed near the center to reach 205km/h when it comes our way," she said.

Lee said last year's Typhoon Hato had a wind speed near its center of 185km/h. Mangkhut could be even more dangerous, she said.

"It's certain that we will face more adverse weather on Sunday, no matter which direction Mangkhut heads in, because of its huge circulation," she said.

Lee reminded people in low-lying areas to take anti-typhoon measures and stay away from the coast.

Residents in Tai O, Heng Fa Chuen and Lei Yue Mun are preparing for Mangkhut's arrival.

Tai O villagers are recruiting 100 volunteers to help those in need in the fishing village. Volunteers will have to help families move their furniture and electronic appliances to higher levels and assist stilt-house residents secure items.

Heng Fa Chuen, whose underground car park was flooded last year, has installed flood detectors.

The management company of the private estate has also installed additional water-pumping machines in the car park and piled up sand bags along the coast.

A couple, surnamed Mak, who park their car in the underground park and were victims of Typhoon Hato, recalled: "It was completely covered by water last time. Total loss. We'll park the car somewhere else this time. It's a new car - 10 months only. It's not worth the bet."

Lei Yue Mun residents have installed anti-flood gates at their doors and the Drainage Services Department has prepared 400 sandbags for villagers.

A restaurant owner at Lei Yue Mun, surnamed Lee, said she was worried about the super typhoon because she lost nearly HK$100,000 from Hato's fury last year, in spite of adopting anti-typhoon measures.

She said she piled up 60 sandbags to block the flood last year but it took only three waves to break her defense.

"I'll use over 100 sandbags this year, and use cement to seal all holes that water may come through," she said.

Lee closed her restaurant yesterday to prepare.

The government has identified six flooding black spots and 150 locations where sewage could easily get stuck, said the Drainage Services Department.

The head of the Tree Management Office, Florence Ko Wan-yee, said it would monitor the condition of trees across the city, in particular busy districts with more pedestrians and traffic.

"During adverse weather, please do not stand under trees," she said.

She called on people to report to police or the Fire Services Department any potentially dangerous trees.

Some supermarkets had empty shelves yesterday as people bought food in advance. Wet markets had few goods left.

The observatory held a cross-border video meeting with Macau's weather bureau and the National Meteorological Center in the mainland yesterday to discuss preventive measures.

Mainland authorities said Guangdong, Hainan and Guangxi provinces are expected to be affected by the super typhoon.

Meanwhile, emergency workers have been deployed in the northern tip of the Philippines, where Mangkhut is expected to make landfall tomorrow.

jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.com

Editorial: Page 14

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