Hong Kong authorities announced new measures they will use to deal with extreme weather conditions, such as Black Rainstorm warnings and T8 typhoon signals or higher. The plans were formulated after the city was hit by the T10-strength Typhoon Saola and experienced its highest rainfall in 140 years within the same week last September leading to flooded MTR stations and malls, passengers getting stranded at the airport, and flooding in low-lying parts of the territory.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Undersecretary for Security Michael Cheuk Hau-yip warned thrill-seekers not to venture outside when rainstorm warnings and typhoon signals are in effect. Cheuk said that residents of the city who go to recreational spots like beaches and country parks during this time could be fined HK$2,000 and jailed for 14 days.

Chan Kwok-ki, Chief Secretary for Administration, specifically addressed issues regarding MTR services. The over-ground train services will continue to be suspended when a T9 or higher warning is in place, but with one change. “Trains travelling on open sections during T9 typhoons are allowed to reach their scheduled destination at a station that has a large capacity to house stranded passengers or one that is connected to shopping malls so passengers can seek shelter,” said Chan.

The city’s Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Lam Sai-hung, added that there will be a temporary waiting area set up Hong Kong International Airport between the Airport Express and Terminal 1 for passengers when train services are cancelled. Airport authorities will also ensure that passengers get up-to-date information about the weather during typhoons and rainstorms.

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The Hong Kong Observatory will issue hourly updates on its website and app, called MyObservatory, during extreme weather conditions with information such as landslip warnings and rain advisories for specific districts. “The MyObservatory app will have an update in late May or early June with an enhanced notification function. When T8 is hoisted, the app will issue special weather tips to indicate if T9 may be hoisted,” said Tse Chin-wan, Secretary for Environment and Ecology.

Read our explainer on Hong Kong’s tropical cyclone and rainstorm warning signals and our guide on how to prepare for a typhoon in the city.

Header image credits: 一蚊budget via X, Cypp0847 via WikiCommons

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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