The Observatory issued the No. 8 Northeast Gale signal at 5:20 a.m. on Wednesday as Typhoon Hato moved closer to Hong Kong.
Hato is inching closer to the Pearl River estuary and expected to make landfall about 100 kilometers to the west of Hong Kong this afternoon.
The number 8 storm signal is expected to remain in effect for most of the day, but if Hato moves even closer or intensifies, the chance of issuing a higher signal cannot be ruled out, the Observatory said.
Classes are suspended today.
MTR Corp. said it will continue to operate, although services in open sections of the railway as well as Light Rail and MTR Bus may be suspended at any time without prior notice if winds become too strong. Limited bus services were available in the morning.
Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Airlines have canceled most of their daytime flights, public broadcaster RTHK reported.
At 8 a.m., Hato was centered about 100 kilometers south-southeast of Hong Kong Observatory (near 21.5 degrees north 114.6 degrees east) and is forecast to move west-northwest at about 25 kilometres per hour towards the vicinity of the Pearl River Estuary, the Observatory said.
In the past few hours, local winds were strengthening significantly, and storm force winds started to affect offshore waters.
Tides are currently running about 0.5 meters above normal.
The high tide, occurring before noon, and the storm surge induced by Hato may cause a rise in sea levels of about 1 meter or more above normal tide levels. There could be serious flooding in some low-lying areas.
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