Reply To: Antiquated typhoon warnings need changing


I have to say I disagree with you on this Martin. With respect.
Since my first arrival (being greeted by Ellen within days) till a few years ago I thought that Hong Kongs system of dealing with Typhoons was, if not the best in the world, not second best.
As a Temporary Works Design Engineer, everything I did was governed by the worst Hong Kong storm in 50 years. For permanent works it is even more stringent. This is with safety factors remember. Just don’t talk to me about ‘traditonal method’, I have a temper.
I also believed that the Hong Kong Observatory was the regions best, believing even that it’s history beat Guam’s excellent system.
I watched the battle HKO had with business down the years, and the government always seemed to find the right answer. Few exceptions could be recounted, but they were minor.
But for the last few years the HKO seems to be kneejerking around, dependant on who is shouting the loudest.
That they didn’t hoist 8 on the previous but one occasion, I consider a legally punishable offence. The paltry excuse that HK harbour was the measuring site not territory wide, when Central and TST were in chaos, seems to point to incompetence or worse. Independant inquiry called for I think.
This occasion they jumped the other way. Typhoons have turned around before. I can remember on brushing past 3 times.
All this has left the most serious of government jobs a laughing stock. But for one thing. Almost every activity is determined by the HKO typhoon system. Ferries, kindergardens, schools, hospitals and (yes, Mr Li, the most important) work. And by work I mean labourers on scaffolding, in caissons and aeroplane pilots.
That we have a party and a day off is due to decades of hard work on the part of many people. But typhoons could still kill on mass, even in HK, should our protective system ever break down.