Published: 09:53, September 2, 2023 | Updated: 18:36, September 2, 2023
HK downgrades typhoon alert as city services gradually resume
By Wang Zhan

People walk down a flooded street in Tsim Sha Tsui district of Hong Kong braving wind and rain brought by Typhoon Saola on Sept 2, 2023. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Observatory downgraded typhoon alert warning signal to No. 3 from No. 8 at 4:20 pm on Saturday as Typhoon Saola  continued to weaken and move away after wreaking havoc in the city.

“This means that winds with mean speeds of 41 to 62 kilometers per hour are expected,” the forecaster said, urging members of the public not to let their guard down. “It is not yet safe for small vessels to leave typhoon shelters.”

The downgrading came with Saola departing the city and local winds weakening gradually.

The forecaster first issued the No. 8 signal early on Friday morning, before raising it to the second-highest levelat 6:20 pm. For the first time since Mangkhut hit in 2018, the HKO later upgraded the signal to No. 10 at 8:15 on Friday night, and replaced it with No. 8 at 3:40 am on Saturday.

IN PICTURES: Saola-battered Hong Kong

“The Strong Wind Signal, No. 3 will remain in force for some time. When the threat posed to Hong Kong by Saola is further reduced, the Observatory will issue the Standby Signal, No. 1 or cancel all tropical cyclone warning signals,” reads an HKO weather bulletin issued at 4:25 pm.

Pointing out that the rainbands associated with Saola will still bring squally showers to Hong Kong, the observatory said seas will still be rough with swells. 

Advising people to stay away from the shoreline, it urged them not to engage in water sports.

READ MORE: HK to resume flights as Typhoon Saola weakens

Earlier in the day, the HKO cautioned people that the rainbands associated with Saola were still affecting the Pearl River Estuary and that seas would still be rough with swells. “Members of the public are advised to stay away from the shoreline. Do not engage in water sports.”

A man waits in rain for a taxi by the Pok Fu Lam Road in front of the University of Hong Kong on Sept 2, 2023 morning. (SHAMIM ASHRAF / CHINA DAILY)

Fallen branches of trees were found on most of the roads, as very few people were seen outside Saturday morning.

With most public transport services remaining suspended, roads were seen almost empty. Apart from some private cars, taxis were seen plying.

The MTR is offering limited services.