Published: 09:29, October 8, 2023 | Updated: 11:35, October 9, 2023
Observatory raises typhoon signal No 9 as Koinu nears HK
By Atlas Shao in Hong Kong

People fend off strong winds outside the Wong Tai Sin shopping center as Typhoon Koinu nears South China's Hong Kong on Oct 8, 2023. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Observatory raised the storm signal No. 9 on Sunday night as the eyewall of Typhoon Koinu gradually approached the vicinity of the Pearl River Estuary.

The Observatory issued the Increasing Gale or Storm Signal No 9 at 7 pm as gale winds and intense rainbands associated with Koinu were affecting Hong Kong. According to the typhoon's forecast track, the closest distance between Koinu and the Observatory would be about 60 to 70 kilometers.

Depending on changes in local wind conditions, the Observatory said it will assess the need for issuing the Hurricane Signal, No. 10

Depending on changes in local wind conditions, the Observatory said it will assess the need for issuing the Hurricane Signal, No. 10.

Between 6:05 pm and 7:05 pm, the maximum sustained winds recorded at Tate's Cairn, Waglan Island and Cheung Chau were 103, 94 and 64 kilometers per hour with maximum gusts exceeding 132, 106 and 94 kilometers per hour, respectively.

ALSO READ: HK observatory issues T3 warning as Koinu moves closer

About 30 millimeters of rainfall were recorded over many places of Hong Kong Island and east Kowloon on Sunday afternoon.

As of 6 pm, Koinu was centered about 70 kilometers south of the Observatory and was forecast to move northwest or west-northwest slowly edging closer to the Pearl River Estuary.

Around 90 flights were canceled while 130 others were delayed at the Hong Kong International Airport due to the typhoon.

Ferry services between Hong Kong Island and outlying islands have been halted, while buses and subway trains are running at limited intervals. Both the Hong Kong-Macao Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan and China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, which operate ferry services to Macao and the Chinese mainland, were temporarily closed on Sunday afternoon.

People crossing Des Voeux Road West try to fend off strong winds as Typhoon Koinu nears South China's Hong Kong on Oct 8, 2023. (SHAMIM ASHRAF / CHINA DAILY)

Citybus said it would gradually suspend all services on daytime routes from 2:40 pm, except for Routes B3X and B7 (direct trip between Fan Ling Station and Heung Yuen Wai Port), and S1 Bus is providing limited services.

Trains on the Mass Transit Railway’s Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong Line, Island Line and Tseung Kwan O Line (North Point Station to Po Lam Stationare operating at five-minute intervals, while South Island Line, Tseung Kwan O Line (Tiu Keng Leng Station to LOHAS Park ), Tung Chung Line, Airport Express, East Rail Line (Admiralty to Lo Wu station) and Tuen Ma Line are operating at 10-minute intervals. Disneyland Resort Line and East Rail line (Admiralty to Lok Ma Chau) are also offering services at 10-minute intervals.

READ MORE: Hong Kong experiences hottest summer on record

According to the Drainage Services Department, there had been no reports of flooding as of 12:30 pm. The department activated its Emergency Control Centre on Sunday morning, and said it will keep in close contact with related departments.

Lok Ma Chau to Huanggang cross-boundary coaches began providing limited services from 1pm at 30-minute intervals. Sun Ferry’s outlying islands and inner harbor ferry routes were suspended after 2pm, while inter-islands ferry services stopped operating after 12:15 pm.

The last ferries from Cheung Chau to Central and vice versa departed at 2:30 pm. A Cheung Chau resident, who arrived early at the Central pier, said the early hoisting of the No 8 storm signal allowed commuters to make alternative public transportation arrangements in advance.

Pedestrians cross a street outside the Wong Tai Sin shopping center as Typhoon Koinu nears South China's Hong Kong on Oct 8, 2023. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

All vehicles have been barred from using the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Transport Department said.

The Home Affairs Department has so far opened 29 temporary shelters in various districts, with 111 people having sought refuge there.

As of 4:40 pm, the Fire Services Department and the SAR government’s 1823 call center had received a total of seven reports of fallen trees, but there have been no reports of flooding or landslips so far.

Officers of the Fire Services Department and the Civil Aid Service are continuing their search for a 17-year-old male student who went missing several days ago. 

READ MORE: China maintains yellow alert for Typhoon Koinu

The Macao Special Administrative Region is expected to raise the No 8 typhoon signal at 4:30 pm.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club also said that the Sha Tin race meeting originally scheduled on Sunday was cancelled. All cash bets will be refunded on presentation of tickets at any Off-course Betting Branch (OCBB) or at the racecourses during opening hours within 60 days.