Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The day that Typhoon Hato visited Hong Kong

You know something's amiss when 
Hong Kong roads get this quiet...

Further signs that a typhoon swept into town today

One of many umbrellas bent out of shape
and no match at all for a typhoon's strong winds

A couple of days ago, the mercury soared to 37.7 degrees Celsius in some areas of Hong Kong.  Worse was to come the day after, when Hong Kong experienced its hottest day since records started being kept in 1884: with the temperature reaching as high as 39 degrees Celsius over at the Hong Kong Wetland Park -- and people's physical discomfort when outdoors being exercerbated by air pollution having hit "serious" or "very high" health risk levels.  All this was due in no small part to a major typhoon approaching Hong Kong.     

For much of today, Typhoon Hato brought Hong Kong to a standstill.  For the first time in five years (i.e., since Typhoon Vicente blew into town in July 2012), Typhoon Signal Number 10 (T10) was raised by the Hong Kong Observatory.  Even more astoundingly, Li Ka Shing's Force Field failed during the day (rather than during nightfall); resulting in the vast majority of businesses along with the stock exchange, schools and such remaining closed for much of the day, if not all of today!

For much of the day, the majority of folks here in Hong Kong stayed at home while, outside, gale force winds blew, lots of rain fell and the sky stayed dark and gray even at noon.  Every once in a while, I would hear something come crashing down outside -- with the loudest noice having been caused by a hunk of wood the size of a door falling from several floors on high onto my apartment complex's podium garden!  

Amazingly, a couple of friends reported feeling their buildings swaying during T10, prompting me to be all the more grateful once more for my having elected against living on a high floor in one of Hong Kong's many high-rise residential buildings!  But for a taste of the power of Typhoon Hato, it's hard to beat checking out the scenes featured in this video and hearing the sounds in this other video captured from a 25th floor flat.  Scary but also awesome, right? ;b   


Anonymous said...

Hi There,

High rises being built in the past few decades would sway under strong winds and it is by design in order to dissipate some of the force caused by the strong winds. I remember they would sway when there was an earthquake too.

Back in the early 1990s, I was still with my previous employer and the office was on 36th floor of Office Tower of Convention Plaza in Wanchai. We all felt the quake. One of the colleagues having a corner window seat yelled he saw the building swaying back and forth together with the adjacent building with a displacement of more than 30 cm. You could imagine what's it like at the top floor. There are 50 floors there. At the time the top floor was the local Head Office of the now folded Yaohan Chain.

I guess many flat land dwellers would freak out when they see the concentration of residential towers in town.


YTSL said...

Hi T --

Thanks for the piece of information! I know that in Japan, they have buildings that are designed to sway during earthquakes. Hadn't realized that there are buildings in Hong Kong designed to do the same during typhoons!

And absolutely re many flat land dwellers freaking out at the high concentration of residential towers (not just skyscrapers per se) in Hong Kong! ;b