Hong Kong woke to a scorching day with low visibility on Tuesday, as tropical cyclone Megi approached Taiwan, with the public being warned about the serious level of pollution brought by the storm.
The Hong Kong Observatory issued a very hot weather warning at 7.17am, as the maximum temperature is expected to rise to about 33 degrees Celsius in urban areas, and a couple of degrees higher in the New Territories. Isolated showers were also expected in the later hours.
At noon, Megi – the Korean word for catfish – was centred about 240km east of Gaoxiong. The storm is expected to move west-northwest at about 22km/h towards Taiwan.The movement of the tropical cyclone will bring low visibility to the city.
“Megi is still keeping a distance from Hong Kong. But its subsidence airstream will affect the Guangdong area and bring heat and haze to the city,” said Observatory scientific officer Yeung Hon-yin. “The visibility over parts of the city fell below 3,000 metres this morning.”
Yeung also said the weather outlook in the coming days remained uncertain as it depended on the movement of Megi.
The Observatory expected the storm come within 800km of Hong Kong on Tuesday and slam into Taiwan. It will head to Fujian in the following two days and will gradually weaken.
Weather in the city will turn cloudy with showers in the coming six days.
The Environmental Protection Department also cautioned the public about the serious air pollution brought by the tropical cyclone, as the air quality health index was expected to be 6–9, or moderate to very high.
At 11am, the index at Tung Chung and Tuen Mun general stations reached 9, which indicated a very high health risk.
At one point on Monday, the index soared to 10+, the most severe warning on the scale, in the New Territories, indicating a serious health risk.
Megi also disrupted air traffic between Hong Kong and Taiwan.
At least 37 flights between Hong Kong and Taipei were cancelled on Tuesday, while 12 flights to and from Kaohsiung were suspended.
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair alone cancelled 17 flights to and from Taipei and four flights to and from Kaohsiung.
The Hong Kong Airport Authority advised passengers to contact their airlines and check the airport website or flight information display screens for the latest updates.