Macau Daily Times brings the latest updates on the Typhoon Wipha situation:
The Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) put the city on alert this afternoon, raising Signal No.8 as a tropical cyclone brewing in the South China Sea threatened to wander closer to Macau than previously thought.
The signal, the highest to date in this year’s typhoon season, was raised at 2 p.m., following the Signal No.3 alert hoisted at 9 p.m. last night. The SMG said that Signal No.8 will remain in effect for the rest of the day.
As of 4 p.m., Typhoon Wipha was located approximately 310 kilometers south of Macau and moving in the direction of the Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong Province.
Earlier, it had been on a trajectory taking it over Hainan island. The northward revision has threatened to bring the typhoon closer to Macau, warranting a higher level warning from the weather authority.
The current forecast by the SMG shows it will move northwest at a speed of around 17km/h towards the Leizhou Peninsula. The forecast also shows that Typhoon Wipha is not expected to breach the important 200-kilometer radius band at present.
With wind speeds ranging between 63 and 117 km/h, Typhoon Wipha is expected to bring gusts reaching 180 km/h to Macau. It is also expected that the wind direction might change in the next few hours.
Over 100 flights affected
A total of 112 flights have been affected due to the proximity of Typhoon Wipha, according to statement issued by the Macau International Airport Co. Ltd (CAM). There are two flights delayed, 109 flights cancelled and one flight rescheduled, according to the latest information.
More than 2,500 passengers are believed to have been affected. Presently, there are about 1,817 passengers in the passenger terminal.
However, according to information from the airport, other operations remain mostly normal and restaurants, convenience store and retail shops continue to remain open.
Public bus transportations were stopped at 3p.m, while ferry services to and from Macau have also been suspended.
All three bridges connecting Macau and Taipa have been closed since 3.25 p.m.
Gaming machines suspended
The Civil Protection Operations Center (COPC) has been activated. As of 2.30 p.m., it said it had recorded just two accident reports. The first was related to “damages on buildings” and included the fall of the cement plaster and other objects from one building. The COPC did not specifiy the type of case in the second incident, classifying it only as “other incidents.”
The Social Welfare Bureau opened its Ilha Verde emergency shelters and R. do Regedor emergency shelters in the early afternoon. As of 3 p.m., it noted that three people had taken refuge at the Ilha Verde shelters, namely two Macau residents and one Hong Kong resident.
Meanwhile, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has reportedly approved the suspension of operation of electronic gaming machines in three casinos. The three casinos are Mocha Kuong Fat, Mocha Macau Tower, and Mocha Inner Harbour. The suspensions started at 2 p.m.
MDT staff reporters