In Hong Kong, taped Xs on glass are a sure sign that
a major typhoon is expected
The MTR and buses run when it's Strong Wind Signal No. 3
(but the buses stop running after Typhoon Signal No. 8 is raised)
On Thursday night, after I got home from the Mid-Autumn Festival lantern show at Victoria Park, I received an email from a Canadian friend of mine who told the Canadian consulate had sent out a message about a typhoon that was due to hit Hong Kong within the next few days. At work the next day, there was quite a bit of talk about what was being described in many quarters as the most powerful of the year (thus far) and even since 1984.
Yesterday, Standby Signal No. 1 was raised in "honor" of Typhoon Usagi -- followed by Strong Wind Signal No. 3 later in the day. As I write this blog entry, Strong Wind Signal No. 3 warning is still in effect -- but the latest news from the Hong Kong Observatory is that it expects to raise Typhoon Signal No. 8 by 7pm today.
Also included in its message were the following lines: Usagi will make landfall to the east of Hong Kong and will skirt to the north of the territory at around 100 km later tonight and early tomorrow morning. Locally, gales are already affecting high ground and winds generally over the territory will continue to strengthen.
What with my first having heard about Typhoon Usagi some three days ago, it can seem like the typhoon's been moving pretty slowly. Viewed from another perspective, however, it's quite amazing how it was sunny and hot -- super hot, in fact, with a "very hot weather warning" triggered by temperatures that went up to 36 degrees Celsius -- yesterday but the sky's been consistently gray all day today, with rain starting to fall by around 10am and strong winds that threaten to destroy umbrellas already blowing this afternoon.
Hopefully, Typhoon Usagi's visit to the area will be short (as in over by tomorrow afternoon) and not too damaging. (It's already caused several flight cancellations and such but a lot of the measures are taken have been precautionary more than anything else.) And -- touch wood but... -- I do take some comfort in its having already being downgraded from Super Typhoon to "merely" a more regular Severe Typhoon.
*Update: Typhoon Signal No. 8 was raised at 6.40pm today!
*Latest update: By 11am on September 23, there were no more typhoon signals hoisted!!