Month after historic rains, Hong Kong once again submerged by Typhoon Koinu

Streets in Hong Kong were swamped Monday as the residual effects of Typhoon Koinu lashed the city with potent winds and drenching rainfall, echoing the devastating downpours from just a month prior that brought the metropolis to a standstill. Although Koinu had diminished to a severe tropical storm by the time it reached Hong Kong, it still unleashed powerful gales and consistent downpours. According to the city’s Observatory, while traversing China’s southern Guangdong province’s western coast, it maintained a direction of west or west-southwest at a pace of about 10 kph (6 mph), as per Reuters.

Month after historic rains, Hong Kong once again submerged by Typhoon Koinu

The severity of the conditions prompted officials to shutter schools for the day and halt the morning trading session at the city’s stock exchange, although it’s anticipated to resume by the afternoon as wind intensities decrease. Taking precautions against possible landslides, Hong Kong’s weather authorities issued warnings, especially in consideration of the hilly terrain of the region. Social media platforms were awash with video footage, capturing torrents of water surging down areas like Repulse Bay Road in the city’s southern reaches.

Travel disruptions ensued, with a multitude of passengers finding themselves stuck at the Hong Kong airport and several metro stations. This was primarily due to Koinu’s interference with flight schedules and the local transit system, detailed by public broadcaster RTHK. Furthermore, the crucial Airport Express train, connecting the airport to the central business district, saw its operations halted, with only some metro stations resuming limited services later, as stated by MTR, the city’s rail operator.

Early Monday reports from the China Meteorological Administration placed the storm’s center at Taishan city in densely-populated Guangdong province, clocking peak wind speeds of approximately 100 kph. China’s main weather agency sounded alarms for various districts in Guangdong, encompassing cities like Zhuhai, resulting in further school suspensions, as conveyed by state media.

Koinu’s trajectory suggests a westward shift along Guangdong’s coast before veering towards Hainan island’s eastern segment. Despite the storm’s diminishing vigor, coastal regions, especially around the Pearl River mouth, should brace for vigorous winds, with areas in southwestern Guangdong preparing for intense localized downpours. As a chilling reminder, earlier in September, typhoon Haikui’s touchdown in China’s Fujian province flooded vast sections of Hong Kong, inundating streets, shopping precincts, and metro stops.