Date
27 May 2017
With air pollution reaching 'very high' levels, visibility has become poor in many areas of Hong Kong. The picture inset shows a man falling off a two-wheeler in Hualien as Typhoon Megi lashed Taiwan on Tuesday. Credit: Reuters
With air pollution reaching 'very high' levels, visibility has become poor in many areas of Hong Kong. The picture inset shows a man falling off a two-wheeler in Hualien as Typhoon Megi lashed Taiwan on Tuesday. Credit: Reuters

Typhoon signal No. 1 in force amid Megi; Air pollution spikes

The Hong Kong Observatory hoisted the standby signal No.1 at 8:45am on Wednesday as tropical cyclone Megi makes its way in the region.

As of 10am, Megi was estimated to be about 470 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong. It is forecast to move west-northwest at about 20 kilometers per hour across the inland areas of Fujian.

Although the tropical cyclone is moving across inland Fujian and weakening gradually, it could take a more westerly track during the day and edge closer to Guangdong.

That is expected to have some impact on Hong Kong, with the possibility of strong winds offshore and occasional gale winds on high ground.

That said, the Observatory feels the chance of strong wind signal No. 3 is not high today.

Typhoon Megi, the 17th of its kind in the Asia-pacific region this year, did not hit Hong Kong directly. Still, it contributed to a rise in air pollution in the city in the past few days due to the surrounding effect, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

As Hongkongers coped with a hot day Tuesday, the Air Quality Health Index recorded by monitoring stations in Tun Mun and Tung Chung reached 10+, the highest level of health risk represented by the index.

Meanwhile, the figures at stations in Central, Causeway Bay, Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po and several other districts also reached “very high” levels, which are defined as readings of 8 or higher.

The Environmental Protection Department noted that intense sunshine enhances photochemical smog activity and the formation of ozone, resulting in high pollution, while light winds tend to hinder the effective dispersion of air pollutants.

The department expects the high pollution levels to persist Wednesday until rainfall brings the city’s temperature down to as low as 23 degrees Celsius Thursday as forecast by the Observatory.

A doctor specializing in respiratory diseases told Sky Post that the number of patients seeking medical help for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and tracheitis has been up 20 percent this week from a week earlier.

Typhoon Megi killed at least four and injured several hundred others as well as caused serious power outage and heavy property loss in Taiwan as it traveled across the island on Tuesday.

That makes it the most damaging typhoon to hit the island so far this year, Apple Daily noted.

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TL/AC/RC

 

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