Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Typhoon Vicente, Hong Kong

Typically, when a typhoon is approaching Japan I'm well aware of it, it's on the news and everyone talking about it.  And if the storm lands in my neighborhood,  I'm usually safe at home watching TV or working, well prepared ready to bunker down.  This past weekend, I took a short trip to Hong Kong, landing in the city the day before typhoon Vicente made land fall just west of the city.  And had to leave the day after. 
For this trip, I was not aware of a typhoon coming, I did not really check and the airline did not mention anything.  Above is the morning of the storm, I just thought it was bad weather.  The plan was a execute the 'Hong Kong in a day' itinerary from wikitravel. Making reference to the itinerary, the above central port 5 around 11:30am (3 hours behind schedule).
 Above is the 'wellcome' sign for Mui Wo.
Outside Port Mui Wo was the market place with a chinese celebration going on, this was the first day of a multi day festival.  Rain has started but not the typhoon.  In retro spec, I'm not sure if that tent will be able to hold up to the storm.
The next itinerary is a bus from Mui Wo to Ngong Ping to see Tian Tan Buddha.
At this point, it started raining, the photo above is about 2:10pm.  If you look close, you can see the rain against the trees.  
At this point, I did not think this was anything but a really bad storm, something that would clear up within the hour.
From the summit of this mountain, you can see low clouds over Po Lin Monastery.
 Above is around 3:00pm, the rain is getting more intense.  At this point, it was no longer possible to follow the itinerary, the ropeway was closed.  
As a result a bus had to be used to get back to Tung Chung, it was up and over a mountain and back to sea level.  Again, you can see water sheeting on the windshield.  From Tung Chung, you can take the train to Jordan but I decided to return to central.
At central, 5pm, it became obvious something was wrong.  It turns out that everyone in central Hong Kong was told to return home.  The photos above and below are people waiting to get down to the train platform which is also full.
Luckily, I was staying in central area so I was going against this flow of traffic.  
Above is about 7pm, most people are home and the streets are empty.  There are some taxi's, but taxi's were charging 10 times what they normally do.  They were asking for $300 HKD for normally $30 HKD (UDS $38 vs. $3.80) fare.
Above is the next morning at 8:30am, you can't see across the harbor.  My return flight was scheduled for 12:25 but actually left at 9pm.  
On the way from the hotel to the airport express train station, you can see lots of damage all over the city.

Original Blog Post:
I took a short three day trip to Hong Kong and within 24 hours of landing got direct hit by typhoon Vicente. I'm okay but the typhoon delayed my return flight to Nagoya by one day. I will update this blog soon, I'm still stuck in HK. Here are some AP (removed) and NASA photos of this mess.

1 comment:

Erin said...

Bad timing! I like the tree picture.