The Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) will hoist typhoon signal number 8 at 2 p.m. today as the city grounds to a near standstill today with classes and flights canceled as Super Typhoon Saola edged closer.
According to a note, the local winds will strengthen as Saola is located about 250 km east of Macau as of 11 a.m. Orange storm surge warning will also be issued at 2 p.m.
“Although the circulation of Saola is relatively small, its intensity remains at the level of a super typhoon. It will move within 200 km of Macau this afternoon , and then the wind will intensify significantly,” the SMG said.
“Saola is expected to have a significant impact on Macau,” it added.
Bakery and baked goods were seen out of stock in many supermarkets and bakeries this morning, while several supermarkets are full of people buying groceries and other goods despite pleas from authorities about panic buying.
Several supermarkets in the city were also reported to be closed by 1:30 p.m.
The SMG has warned that the possibility of hoisting T9 is “medium to relatively high” between tonight and midnight.
Several government entities have already started to prepare for the potential strength of Typhoon Saola.
Nearly 80 flights for today have also been canceled, while the last departure of several bus routes will be between 1:40 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The typhoon could make a landfall in southern China.
Students in various cities in China, as well as in Hong Kong and Macau had the start of their school year postponed to next week.
Hong Kong’s stock market trading was suspended and more than 400 flights were canceled or delayed in the key center for regional business and travel.
The Hong Kong Observatory raised a No. 8 typhoon signal at 2:40 a.m. today, the third-highest warning under the city’s weather system.
Its forecast said Saola — with maximum sustained winds of 210 kilometers per hour — would be “rather close” to the financial hub on today and Saturday morning, skirting within 100 kilometers south of the city.
The observatory’s director Chan Pak-wai said yesterday the alert might be upgraded to a No. 10 signal if the strength of the winds reached hurricane levels. The No. 10 hurricane signal is the highest warning under its system and was last hoisted when Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong in 2018.
Chan expected the winds would gradually weaken as the typhoon moves away from Hong Kong on Saturday.