So What if it’s Raining? Gale Force Winds in Hong Kong

Some things can actually be very efficient in Hong Kong – like storm signage

It must be serious because the juice lady is closed. She’s never closed except during major events like Chinese New Year. Or cyclones. At first the current  No. 8 Northeast Gale or Storm Signal in Hong Kong wasn’t worrying to me. I generally assume that the Hong Kong Observatory over exaggerates the threat of a mild breeze. But the juice lady’s absence from my nightly route concerns me, and not only because I had been looking forward to a fresh squeezed carrot/apple/orange juice for 17HKD. The food vendor that sells skewers of mysterious spongy meat is also unusually shuttered, it’s metal garage door pulled snugly over the front of the shop. Not to mention the overly crowded red line on the MTR – as if it were rush hour at 10.30pm on Friday night, a time when most people are either at home or out, but not in between.

Our plans to celebrate my recent (f)unemployment by riding Ocean Park  roller coasters all day tomorrow have been diluted to a vague hope by the storm warning. It’s not a heavy rain, not yet anyways, but the possibility that it could be has disrupted the entire city. Sending diners fleeing from restaurants towards wherever they wont mind spending the coming day if public transit is called off.

As far as I can tell it’s not the actual rain or wind that people fear. Cyclones seem like the Hong Kong equivalent of a snow day. Halted activity is justified by the fact that bamboo scaffolding or a neon electric sign could detach in the wind and attack passersby. Therefore no productivity is allowed.  The emptiest that I’ve ever seen a street here was during a Black Storm warning – not a single local person showed up to the office.

The official advice is to stay indoors, away from windows, and listen it out through the flapping vents of our ventilation fan. One look at the Hong Kong skyline and you’ll realize the inherent challenge of this task. Even in my little flat every room has at least 1 floor to ceiling window. Good thing it’s not a tornado warning or we’d be in actual trouble instead of the hypothetical kind.

How would you even begin to stay away from windows in this city?

Looking out over Cheung Sha Wan Road listening to our washing machine that sounds like a space ship, I see a fire truck zoom by and wonder what on earth could be on fire in the rain.


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