Hong Kong’s weather forecaster has said it will issue a typhoon warning by Monday (Oct 11) night, as a second major storm in just three days approaches the city.
Tropical Cyclone Kompasu, which follows closely on the heels of Friday’s Tropical Storm Lionrock, is forecast to move within 800km of Hong Kong overnight.
The new storm is likely to come closest to the city – about 400km to the south – on Wednesday morning.
Former Observatory assistant director Leung Wing-mo estimated Kompasu’s impact would be stronger than that of Lionrock given its closer proximity, though the effects would be felt for a shorter time.
“Kompasu might be a more ‘regular’ typhoon, it might not be as ‘tricky’ as Lionrock,” Leung said, adding that factors such as the monsoon’s direction or dry air could yet change its path.
While the weather remained sunny on Monday, the Observatory said it was expected to deteriorate by the later part of Tuesday, with gale-force winds and widespread thunderstorms likely.
Residents were reminded to prepare backup plans if planning outdoor activities.
On Friday, strong winds and rain brought by Lionrock caused 30 storeys of scaffolding outside a building in Happy Valley to collapse, killing one woman, a construction worker.
While that storm originally started off with a No. 3 warning, it was later upgraded to a No. 8 over the weekend. The higher signal remained in place for 22 hours, the city’s longest No. 8 signal since 1978.
However, both the weather service and Education Bureau came under fire for not issuing clearer instructions earlier in the storm.
Schools were cancelled only after a black rainstorm warning was issued on Friday morning, leaving many students to face harsh weather getting home.
Tropical Storm Lionrock, which ravaged Hong Kong on Friday and Saturday, was situated some 800km away from the city, making it the furthest storm to trigger a typhoon warning in 60 years.
That, Leung explained, was the result of a combination of factors.
“Firstly, the radius of Lionrock was relatively larger than usual, so that means it affected a wider area overall.
“Secondly, the northeast monsoon was along the Taiwan Strait, and winds coming from that direction contributed to the wind strength,” Leung said.
The Observatory on Sunday defended its decision to raise the No. 8 warning on Saturday rather than Friday, saying wind speeds had far exceeded those from the day before.
The storm’s larger radius also meant that heavy rain continuously affected Hong Kong, according to the Observatory, which said the delay in downgrading the No. 8 signal was based on safety considerations.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.