The rabbit in question is Usagi. Super Typhoon Usagi to be precise. That is what Usagi means in Japanese – rabbit. But this rabbit has teeth. Super Rabbit has had us all preoccupied for well-nigh 2 days. At one point it was postulated that we could have a direct hit on Hong Kong and it could be one of the worst typhoons in memory. I suppose that depends on how old you are and how long you have lived in Hong Kong.
Whether we will have a direct hit remains unclear. It is currently a category 3 in hurricane terms, down from 5. The tracker shows it hitting the coast ever so slightly North of Hong Kong. That would be a good result. There would be some element of natural shelter from the North winds. However whilst it is weakening a little it is also widening its coverage and we are still well within the range of possible strike points.
Estimated time of arrival is around 3am Monday morning. The airport is shutting down as a precaution. With 12 hours to go I look out of my window and see the tree tops blown about and persistent drizzle. It is perhaps the real calm before the storm.
We have brought inside all garden furniture. Plant pots are up against the wall. Some of the lighter objects have been moved inside our stone garden shed. Valuables have been moved off the ground floor and away from windows that could break under extreme pressure. The dog is unperturbed. Last time we were hit I was up all night keeping drains clear, drenched through and worn out.
This is all the HK Observatory site says right now:
At 3 p.m., Severe Typhoon Usagi was estimated to be about 260 kilometres east of Hong Kong (near 22.3 degrees north 116.7 degrees east) and is forecast to move west-northwest at about 20 kilometres per hour across the northeastern part of the South China Sea and towards the vicinity of the Pearl River Estuary.
WNW is a good route to take, Mr. Rabbit. The further North the better. Weather Underground says this:
TY 17w is forecast to remain on a west-northwestward track
towards Hong Kong, and is expected to make landfall within the next
24 hours. The decreasing upper level support and increasing land
interactions will lead to a slight weakening before landfall with a
rapid weakening as low level inflow is disrupted by Mainland China.
I like the words ‘ rapid weakening’. So will we get off lightly? Maybe. Who knows. A previous typhoon had us all on edge only to slide past us almost unnoticed. We breathed out. A communal sigh of relief. At which point the typhoon whipped round and gave us a good going over. Not so much the Ali shuffle as ‘Enery’s ‘ammer. And a right hammering it was too.
We face due East and a straight hit is singularly unpleasant. We would avoid the storm surges as we are almost 200’ above sea level. However we are completely exposed. The flip side of a wonderful sea view is the lack of protection when the wind and rain slam into the coastline. In the event of a hit undoubtedly trees would come down, roads would be blocked with landslides and flooding. Boats would be thrown around and some of HK’s traditional bamboo scaffolding and illegal hoardings would crash to ground. Transport would have stopped. Shops would be closed. No bread on the shelves already today.
All we can do now is wait and watch. To borrow from Flanagan and Allen,
Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run…….
But please, not in our direction. May the force not be with us.