28 July 2010

[HK 34] : Weather or not...

Not me, and hopefully my umbrellas are sturdy enough so this will never be.

This is the second time in 2 weeks that we had a black rainstorm alert.  I've never lived in a tropical place before, so this warning system is new to me.  We were told to stay indoors and be careful of flooding, although they should also have warned us of falling objects, since on the way home I spotted quite a few tree branches strewn across the sidewalk.  Yikes.

So black rainstorms really do turn the sky just about completely black, although the technical definition of one is "very heavy rain has fallen or is expected to fall generally over Hong Kong, exceeding 70 millimetres in an hour, and is likely to continue."  There are a few courses of action listed on the government website as well, although the most amusing (and sad) to me is

"People who are already at work should stay where they are unless it is dangerous to do so."

... meaning not leaving the office. Ever!  (just kidding... although the last time, I did have to wait it out for quite a while.)  There are also amber and red rainstorm signals, which seem far more useful to me than the national safety warning colors we have in the States.  (It seems to always be yellow.)

HK also has typhoon signals, although thankfully there's only been one typhoon warning (for No. 3), and it never actually came about despite it being almost August and well into typhoon season.  When I say No. 3, it sounds like there must be quite a large scale, right?  Actually, there are just two primary typhoon signals: No. 3 and No. 8.  (Who knows what happened to all the levels in between...)  No. 3 means persistent wind conditions at speeds between 41 and 62 km/h, while No. 8 means speeds of 63 to 117 km/h.  It's only with No. 8 typhoons that we're permitted to stay at home from work.

Now, that's one hooky excuse that can't be faked.  ("Um sorry...can't come to work today because of a No. 8 typhoon signal....only in my neighborhood.")