Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Blown Over

Hong Kong felt the brunt of Typhoon Vicente when it passed by the city last night.

The Hong Kong Observatory raised the signal to Number 10 at around 1am and one could hear the wind howling outside and rain hitting the windows. There were also lightning strikes, creating a dramatic night.

It was the strongest storm to hit the city in a decade with winds measuring up to 140km/h.

This morning the damage could be seen, thankfully none too serious, with lots of tree branches strewn across sidewalks and roads, a few damaged street lamps and large-scale banners. Miraculously many of the bamboo scaffolding seemed to have stayed in place, a testament to those workers who are well trained in their jobs.

Some friends reported flooding in their flats and one even had chairs missing from his balcony!

Nevertheless there were many frustrated commuters last night, as the observatory didn't raise the Number 8 signal until 5:40pm, knowing this was when most people would get off work soon.

While it gave a two-hour advance warning of the possibility of raising the Number 8 signal, public transportation was a mess, with huge lines for buses and mini buses, commuters having to wait for almost 10 trains before getting on the MTR.

"I think employers should let their employees go home ever earlier if there is a typhoon," said Ng Hing-man, 34. "There should be a law because it gets so crowded."

Perhaps the city needs to think more clearly about how to logistically get people home as quickly as possible, and maybe employers should let people go earlier.

This is about safety, not profits.

Meanwhile this morning after the signal went down to Number 3 at 10:10am, there were massive lines for buses at Kennedy Town.

And once the buses arrived, they were packed to the gills at their second stop and could not take anymore people in subsequent stops. Must have been a heck of a commute today.

We will be experiencing rough weather for the next few days, but thankfully the worst is over for now...

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