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Super Typhoon Haima (1622)
14 to 22 October 2016

        Haima was the ninth tropical cyclone affecting Hong Kong in 2016. The Observatory issued the No. 8 Gale or Storm Signal during the passage of Haima, necessitating the issuance of the No. 8 Signal once again in October since Typhoon Sibyl in 1995. 

        Haima formed as a tropical depression over the western North Pacific about 710 km south of Guam on the afternoon of 14 October. Moving generally northwestwards, Haima intensified gradually and developed into a super typhoon on the night of 17 October. Tracking to the west-northwest, it reached its peak intensity the next day with an estimated sustained wind of 230 km/h near its centre. Haima moved across northern Luzon on the early morning of 20 October and weakened into a typhoon. It then moved northwestwards and entered the northeastern part of the South China Sea during the day. Haima turned northwards on 21 October and made landfall near Shanwei in eastern Guangdong that afternoon, before finally degenerating into an area of low pressure over Jiangxi during the night.

        According to press reports, Haima wreaked havoc in northern Luzon with extensive flooding and landslides as well as the collapse of many houses. At least eight people were killed and more than 90 000 people had to be evacuated. Haima also brought heavy rain and squalls to Guangdong and Fujian. At least 1.8 million people were affected and around 600 houses collapsed. Transportation services were seriously affected and the direct economic loss exceeded 5 billion RMB.

        In Hong Kong, the Standby Signal No. 1 was issued at 8:20 a.m. on 20 October when Haima was about 750 km east-southeast of the territory. Local winds were light to moderate northerlies during the day. As Haima edged closer to the coast of Guangdong, the Strong Wind Signal No. 3 was issued at 8:40 p.m. that night when Haima was about 440 km southeast of Hong Kong. Local winds strengthened gradually during the night, becoming fresh north to northwesterlies and occasionally strong on high ground. With Haima approaching the coastal areas east of the Pearl River Estuary, the No. 8 Northwest Gale or Storm Signal was issued at 6:10 a.m. on 21 October when it was about 230 km east-southeast of Hong Kong. Local winds strengthened significantly and became generally strong to gale force from the northwest. Haima made landfall near Shanwei around 1 p.m. and was closest to Hong Kong with its centre about 110 km east-northeast of the territory. Local winds started to turn southwesterly and the No. 8 Southwest Gale or Storm Signal was issued at 2:15 p.m. on 21 October. With Haima moving inland and weakening in the afternoon, local winds subsided gradually. The No. 8 Southwest Gale or Storm Signal was replaced by the Strong Wind Signal No. 3 at 5:20 p.m., and all tropical cyclone warning signals were cancelled at 10:10 p.m. that night.

        Under the influence of Haima, maximum hourly mean winds of 63, 65 and 70 km/h and gusts of 88, 85 and 110 km/h were recorded at Star Ferry (Kowloon), the Hong Kong International Airport and Lau Fau Shan respectively. A maximum sea level (above chart datum) of 2.89 m was recorded at Waglan Island, and a maximum storm surge (above astronomical tide) of 0.65 m was recorded at Tsim Bei Tsui and Waglan Island. The lowest instantaneous mean sea-level pressures recorded at some selected stations are as follows:

Station Lowest instantaneous mean sea-level pressure (hPa)

Date/Month Time
Hong Kong Observatory Headquarters 990.7 21/10 11:32 a.m.
Hong Kong International Airport 992.4 21/10 12:11 p.m.
Ta Kwu Ling 989.2 21/10 12:26 p.m.
Tai Po 987.8 21/10 12:30 p.m.
Shatin 989.7 21/10 12:06 p.m.
Sheung Shui 989.6 21/10 12:19 p.m.
Lau Fau Shan 990.2 21/10 12:00 noon
Cheung Chau 990.3 21/10 12:05 p.m.
Waglan Island 988.3 21/10 10:32 a.m.

        Locally, there were sunny periods and haze on 20 October under the influence of the subsiding air ahead of Haima. The circulation of Haima brought heavy rain and squalls to Hong Kong on 21 October. More than 70 millimetres of rainfall were generally recorded over the territory, and rainfall over the eastern part of the New Territories, Kowloon City and Wong Tai Sin even exceeded 100 millimetres. As Haima moved inland, local weather improved on 22 October with sunny periods.

        In Hong Kong, at least 13 people were injured during the passage of Haima. There were nearly 300 reports of fallen trees and many incidents of falling objects. Trees toppled near Lai Chi Kok Fire Station and Lung Mei Tsuen in Sai Kung, damaging three private cars; while fallen trees near the University station of the East Rail Line resulted in a disruption of train services. A canopy in Tai Wai and a hoarding in Sha Tin were blown down, injuring two persons. A canoeist fell into the sea off Tso Wo Hang in Sai Kung and was later rescued. The Shenzhen Bay Bridge was closed under high winds. Over 730 flights were cancelled or delayed at the Hong Kong International Airport.