Typhoon Mangkhut helped show “storm surge” is a threat to modern cities, not just something for the history books.
You've surely seen the shocking images from Japan last week, including as Osaka's Kansai International Airport was flooded during the passage of Typhoon Jebi (4 September 2018). The airport was built on an island of reclaimed land, and images also showed a ship that was smashed into the bridge serving as the main link to the airport, fracturing a highway lane and ripping away half the ship's superstructure.
While climate change may have long seemed an issue for hardcore, tree-hugging environmentalists, concerns are spreading.
Typhoon Haiyan was among the strongest storms on record, and devastated a swathe of the Philippines. A storm surge was most damaging; and surges have hit Hong Kong.
As well as employing computer models and weather station info, the Hong Kong Observatory is employing reconnaissance flights to gather data from within tropical cyclones.
Severe Tropical Storm Pabuk looked to have passed Hong Kong, but turned and hit as a tropical storm.
Severe Tropical Storm Pabuk looked set to have passed Hong Kong, barely causing an impact other than a pulse of thunderstorms, some rain. Headed towards Hainan, and forecast to dwindle to nothingness. But, it stopped, strengthened again, and turned around - and headed straight for Hong Kong as a tropical storm, hitting on 10 August; seems the rather hazy centre hit Lantau, before it moved off towards west, and weakened..
Led to hoisting of Number 1 and then, a couple of hours or so later, the Number 8: latter causing massive confusion, as people scurried home from work.
Here are views from Cheung Chau, as Pabuk approached (again!), and as it came close, with intense rainband.
I had to take a ferry. As I neared the pier, passed bicycles blown over by powerful wind, and this broken tree branch.
The ferry took 15-20 minutes just to leave the pier! - blown against it by the wind!
Even in the typhoon shelter, the gale to storm force wind was blasting small waves w white water. Here, took shot in pelting rain.
There were big waves - some 3-4 metres? - soon after the ferry left the typhoon shelter. The ferry took an unusual course, to avoid as much as possible the roughest seas towards Hong Kong - north past Hei Ling Chau, to pass near Peng Chau. Even so, once we were beyond the lee of Hei Ling Chau, the ferry rolled in big seas; a few times, rolled pretty far then hit by waves that sent spray to windows of middle deck (where I was).
I shot these clips, inc as arrived in Victoria Harbour.
Calmer in the harbour, tho some dark clouds moved over.
I arrived in Central to find large crowd of people, waiting to catch ferry to Cheung Chau. (and go home - not for holiday!) The Number 8 was imminent, or up already.
Took quite some time for ferries to arrive. When a small - two deck - ferry berthed, there was degree of chaos as people rushed along exit way, dashed onto ferry without paying, w much shouting. But then, gate closed behind them, and things quiet again: the ferry left, and I figured I was glad not to be on it, as surely would bounce even more than three-deckers (as I'd come in on).
There were tv news crews around, reporting on people waiting for ferries. (Maybe, too, on the storm - but in Central it was pretty quiet; hard to guess how rough the seas were towards Cheung Chau, and how strong the wind had been there.)
Hong Kong's Number 8 tropical cyclone warning can be controversial.
Typhoons have sometimes caused massive damage and loss of life in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong can be impacted by tropical cyclones including and typhoons.