Typhoon signal will be raised from T1 to T3 before midnight, potentially dampening HK’s handover celebrations

Tropical cyclone track of Chaba. Photo: Hong Kong Observatory
Tropical cyclone track of Chaba. Photo: Hong Kong Observatory

The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) said on Thursday it will issue the no. 3 tropical cyclone signal before midnight with squally showers and thunderstorms expected for the next few days, potentially dampening the city’s celebrations of the 25th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule.

The forecaster hoisted the no. 1 standby signal last night, which is currently in force.

A no. 1 signal means that a tropical cyclone now centered within about 800 kilometers of Hong Kong may affect the city.

“In the past few hours, [tropical storm] Chaba continued to track north. The associated outer rainbands are affecting Hong Kong. According to the present forecast track, as Chaba edges gradually closer to the coast of western Guangdong and intensifies slightly, local winds will strengthen gradually tonight. The observatory will issue the strong wind signal, no. 3 before midnight,” it said on its website at 4:45pm on Thursday.

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Tropical cyclone track of Chaba. Photo: Hong Kong Observatory

A no. 3 signal means it is expecting winds generally with a sustained speed of 41-62 km/h and gusts, which may exceed 110 km/h, and the wind condition is expected to persist.

“As there will be swells, members of the public are advised to stay away from the shoreline, and not to engage in water sports,” said the observatory.

At 6 pm, Chaba was estimated to be about 640 kilometers south of Hong Kong and is forecast to move north-northwest at about 15 kilometers per hour in the general direction of the coast of western Guangdong.

A thunderstorm warning was also issued this morning and is currently in force.

The forecaster said cloudy weather with squally showers and thunderstorms are expected for tonight and tomorrow.

Showers will be heavy at times tomorrow, while temperatures will range between 26 and 29 degrees Celsius.

There will also be fresh easterly winds, strengthening gradually, and swells.

The poor weather could put a damper on the city’s celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover, which include a flag-raising ceremony that will take place outdoors in Golden Bauhinia Square tomorrow morning.

It was announced on Tuesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the city for the celebrations as well as the inauguration of incoming Chief Executive John Lee and his cabinet.

If a no. 8 gale or storm signal — the next level of warning — is hoisted, certain events could be cancelled.

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