Typhoon Merbok approaches: Hong Kong braces itself for torrential rainfall, strong winds

The Hong Kong Observatory issued the Strong Wind Signal No. 3, its second-lowest warning.

Typhoon in Hong Kong
A man stands at a pier facing the island skyline as Typhoon Haima approaches in Hong Kong. Reuters

Hong Kong is bracing itself for heavy rainfall and strong winds as Tropical Storm Merbok, that is moving towards the southern Chinese territory, is approcing its landfall. On Monday, the Hong Kong Observatory issued the Strong Wind Signal No. 3, its second-lowest warning and said that local winds will strengthen significantly with heavy showers on Monday night.

The authorities added that if needed the Observatory will consider issuing Storm Signal No. 8 later in the afternoon depending on Merbok's movement and intensity changes.

The Tropical Storm Merbok was estimated to be about 170 km south-southeast of Hong Kong at about 1 pm. The storm was forecast to move north-northwest towards the coast of Guangdong province. The Observatory said it is expected to make landfall within 100 km of Hong Kong around midnight.

While the kindergartens and schools for children with physical disability and intellectual disability have already been shutdown, transportation is largely running as usual.

According to rules by the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, if Storm Signal No. 8 is raised before 3.45 pm, stocks will terminate 15 minutes after the hoisting. However, Trading will continue as normal until the end of the closing auction session should Signal No. 8 be raised after 3.45 pm.

The Observatory warned the public to take precautions against storm damage, by doing necessary works such as clearing gutters and drains for obstructions and check doors and ­windows and secure property. It added that sea swells are expected and thus people should stay away from shorelines and engaging in water sports.

The Marine Department said the vessel owners and ­operators should properly secure their boats at safe locations.

The name of the tropical ­cyclone has been coined by Malaysia. It refers to a type of spotted-neck dove commonly found in rural areas of the country.