Hong Kong’s sunshine and clear blue skies won’t last for long as an approaching tropical depression is expected to intensify next week and possibly become the city’s first typhoon in November for four years.
A tropical depression, the lowest in a six-tier tropical cyclone category, was centred about 690 kilometres east-southeast of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea at noon on Friday, having formed over the Philippines on Thursday.
Observatory scientific officer Christy Leung Yan-yu said even though the tropical depression was expected to intensify into a severe tropical storm within an 800km radius of the city, it still did not mean a warning signal would definitely be issued.
“Whether any typhoon warning signal will be raised depends on the distance, size and intensity of the storm, and whether Hong Kong will be more likely to be affected by the monsoon or the tropical storm,” she said.
Leung added it was also not rare for a typhoon to hit Hong Kong so late in the year, as typhoons can happen any time between May and November. They are most likely to affect the city between July and September.
The Observatory’s forecast stated: “Tropical cyclone Haikui will intensify gradually and move across the central part of the South China Sea in the general direction of Hainan Island during the weekend and early next week.”
“Under the combined effect of the northeast monsoon and Haikui, it will be windy with rain over the south China coastal areas during the period,” it added.
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Haikui, named using the Chinese word for sea anemones, is expected to intensify over the weekend into a severe tropical storm – the third highest in the six-tier scale – when it enters within a 800km radius of Hong Kong. Severe tropical storms are a category below typhoons in the scale.
It will be cloudy with a few rain patches for a few days starting from Sunday, with temperatures expected to dip to 20 degrees Celsius.
The last time a typhoon hit Hong Kong in November was in 2013, when severe typhoon Krosa prompted a standby warning signal No 1, meaning the tropical cyclone was within an 800km radius and was likely to affect the city.
Hong Kong had an active typhoon season over the summer, with seven storms this year, five of them sparking a warning signal No 8 or above.