Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Storm of the Year: Typhoon Hato

Trying to keep dry while Typhoon Hato lashes Lei Yue Mun waterfront
Hong Kong woke up to the strength of Typhoon Hato that was T8 around 5.30am and quickly went to T10 just after 9am.

My flat in Kennedy Town was very noisy thanks to the wind passing through the elevator shafts, howling louder than the wind outside. And at some points I could feel the building swaying -- not a lot, but enough to feel like things weren't quite steady.

Some storm watchers braved the severe weather conditions
I stayed home like most people, as buses, trams, ferries and outdoor MTR trains were stopped, including the Airport Express and hundreds of flights cancelled at the airport. Even the stock exchange was closed all day.

This was pretty much unprecedented, as us underlings have always had a theory that tycoons might have a hand in deciding the severity of the weather because they were in the business of making money.

Many typhoons have blown through overnight, or the T8 signal isn't raised until 5pm or 6pm when people were leaving work anyway.

But this time the typhoon really was severe, as there are videos on social media showing giant waves crashing into walls, flooded underground car parks, trucks tipping over, a revolving door spinning madly, and even hordes of cockroaches fleeing on a ledge.

There were many areas reporting extensive flooding
By around 5pm the signal was lowered to T3 and by 6.20 it was T1, and finally all signals lowered.

Some market analysts are calculating that the loss in business today was estimated between HK$4 billion to HK$8 billion. Those numbers include tourism, transportation, marine, financial services, agriculture, event organizing, entertainment, administration and import-export firms.

And even though some businesses managed to open, there were hardly any customers to serve because the weather conditions were so bad not many wanted to venture out.

I feel for shop owners and restaurants who lost a lot of business today, but this time the typhoon really was quite serious. The last time we had such a severe typhoon was in July 2012 when Typhoon Vincente hit.

Tonight Wan Chai MTR station was very quiet!
In any event all is calm again in Hong Kong and it's back to work and school for everyone tomorrow. But we'll all have stories about Typhoon Hato that we'll be telling for years to come.

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