There are roughly five typhoon levels here in Hong Kong. There is level one, which informs residents to stand by as there is a typhoon possibly approaching. Then there is level three, which consists of strong winds with a sustained speed of 41-62 km/hr. Next is level eight, which consists of gale or storm forced winds with a sustained speed of 63-117 km/hr. This is the point in which people are to stay home and not go outside. The next level is level nine, which consists of gale or storm forced winds that increase in strength. The final level is level ten, which consists of hurricane force winds that reach a sustained speed between 118-220 km/hr.
On Monday night, I experienced my first typhoon level eight. What this means is that things shut down…and I mean essentially everything! People are encouraged to go home and stay indoors during this time. Thankfully we were home when the signal came up, so we were able to sit out the typhoon from the dryness of our apartment. From the 19th floor, I looked down to the streets that are usually bustling with activity to find it all eerily empty. There were only a handful of vehicles out and no people about at all. The only thing there seemed to be plenty of was all the debris being tossed around by the wind. Our apartment building seemed to sway along with the wind. The windows shuttered every time a gust of wind came by. This created an incredible whistling sound that ran through the length of the apartment. It was intense, that’s for sure!
Come morning, as it was still a level eight, school was cancelled! We had to keep checking the weather channel and the observatory website though. The reason for this was to see whether or not we had to go back in to work for the day or not. If it stayed at a level 8 all day, then we didn’t have to go in. However, if the level had changed by 10 am, we would have to show up to work within a two-hour period for the remainder of the workday. Needless to say, the level dropped to a three and I had to go into work! Oh well, at least the students were able to stay home, which meant that I was able to get a lot of teacher stuff taken care of.
I'm including some pictures from the thunderstorm that occurred the night before the typhoon. This was quite an amazing light display, that's for sure!
It was a dark night...
Look at how bright the night became...
Check out the lightning in the clouds!
The lightning hitting the mountain top!