Despite having four seasons, Hong Kong is also considered a subtropical country considering its proximity to the equator as well as the Pacific, where a number of typhoons originate from.
That being said, Hong Kong has its own fair share of unpredictable weather systems, which interestingly affect the region during the summer season (June) lasting up until mid-autumn (October). Based on studies in the past years, the worst months to visit Hong Kong in terms of weather conditions is between July and September, as Hong Kong is hit with the most number of typhoons during this period.
[Guide] Typhoon Season in Hong Kong
Given the fact that a number of typhoons are expected to hit Hong Kong year in and year out, let us get to know typhoon warnings as measured by a unique scale that goes like this:
Number 1 (Stand-by): The initial warning really means little to no concern in terms of daily activities, unless you’re planning to go on a long boat ride or a whole day hike.
Number 3 (Strong Wind): Considered as the first real warning of concern as kindergartens will close and send their kids home, which makes life hard for parents who still have to go to work.
Number 8 (Gale or Storm): This warning calls for all schools, offices, banks and public facilities to close for the meantime. The warning causes some concern to visitors in Hong Kong, as tours may be cancelled and public transport stopped. Of note, travelling around the city is close to impossible as taxis do not offer services because taxi drivers insurance does not cover going out in such weather. Fortunately, the number 8 warning rarely lasts more than a day; typically after less than a day the typhoon passes and the signal warning is lowered to number 3 or often lowered completely as typhoons tend to build up over the sea, but then lose all their power once they have arrived on land. Normally the Hong Kong Observatory will announce well in advance, a few hours ahead, that a No 8 signal is going to be observed, to give ample time for residents to return home or to a place of safety before transport shuts down.
Number 9 (Increasing Gale or Storm): This is perhaps the rarest warning to be called because the giant super typhoons typically skip to the next level of warning.
Number 10 (Hurricane): Also rare, and the most severe type of weather disturbance to be experienced in the city. Everything in Hong Kong is completely shut down, and residents thoroughly observe safety measures (such as taping window panels) while waiting for the storm to pass. This rarity seems to occur only once in a decade or so, the last being in 2012 (Typhoon Vicente). However, in terms of probability based in the last 60 years, hurricanes or super typhoons have occurred during the regular typhoon season.
As we enter the summer period here in Hong Kong once again, it’s important to remain on updated for any weather changes and to plan our trips and activities in line with the advisories released by the Hong Kong Observatory to remain safe and prepared at all times.