Two green mini bus stop signs felled by the might
The strength of the first typhoon 10 to hit Hong Kong
since 1999 also uprooted and otherwise damaged
large numbers of trees in the territory
When I wrote the blog entry before this one, typhoon standby signal number 1 was in place. And so it is again this evening as I write this latest entry to my blog. But in between, first strong wind signal number 3 and typhoon signal number 8 were raised -- and, then, late last night, increasing gale signal number 9 and hurricane signal 10 as well.
To quote the Hong Kong Observatory, "It is not very often that one sees the issuing of the ultimate tropical cyclone warning signal of No.10." Up until last night, the last time that that signal had been issued was in 1999 when Typhoon York blew into town.
This time around, Typhoon Vicente came to visit. On Monday morning, most of us went to work with little inkling that the typhoon warning signals would increase past 3. But by mid afternoon, people starting getting the sense that maybe this was no ordinary summer rainstorm.
Still, my company didn't provide emergency shuttle buses to get its employees nearer home until just a half hour before the usual end of our work day. And many of us were still on our respective buses when the warning signal went up to number 8 -- and we saw ample evidence outside our bus windows of strong winds as well as lots of rain lashing much of Hong Kong.
Fortunately, the vast majority of us were safely in our homes in the wee hours of the night when the typhoon was at its strongest. And I was close to being asleep when a friend texted at around 1 am to tell me that the signal had been raised to the maximum number of 10.
The next morning, before my clock alarm went off, another friend-colleague texted to ask about company shuttle bus arrangements for going to work if typhoon signal number 8 or higher was in effect. But what with Typhoon Vicente seeming aiming not to inconvenience businesses and such, the typhoon was downgraded to level 3 by around the start of the work day.
At the same time, Typhoon Vicente sure did create a lot of work for those charged with keeping Hong Kong clean and orderly looking -- what with storm damage visible over broad swathes of the territory even as late as this evening. And after two recent years of relative quiet typhoon seasons (in contrast to those of such as 2008 and 2009), we have been served notice once again of the power of typhoons in particular, and nature in general.