The Observatory says it will consider later in the afternoon whether there is a need to issue typhoon signal Number 8, depending on Merbok’s movement.
It issued signal Number 3 at 10:40 a.m. Monday as the tropical storm edged closer to Hong Kong.
According to the current forecast track, Merbok is expected to make landfall within 100 kilometers of Hong Kong around midnight tonight.
Local winds will strengthen significantly with heavy showers tonight, the Observatory said.
Since the region of gale wind associated with Merbok is rather small, gale force wind will affect Hong Kong only when Merbok comes very close to the Pearl River Estuary.
As the sea will be rough and there are swells, members of the public should stay away from the shoreline and not engage in water sports.
With signal No. 3 up, all kindergartens and schools for disabled children have been suspended.
The Social Welfare Department said all child care centers, centers providing after-school care programs, elderly services centers and day rehabilitation units, including sheltered workshops, integrated vocational rehabilitation services centers and day activity centers, remain open.
However, if necessary, members of the public can contact the centers to make arrangements for the safe return home of their children and family members, the department said.
In the past hour, the maximum sustained winds recorded at Cheung Chau Beach and Waglan Island were both 53 kilometers per hour.
Merbok is the first tropical storm to hit the SAR this year, RTHK said.
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