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Macau government to amend storm surge and typhoon signals

Fri, 5th Jan 2018

Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) Director Raymond Tam Vai Man said on Thursday that his bureau will amend its system for the issuing of storm surge and tropical cyclone warning signals.

According to the Macau Post Daily, Tam made the remarks when replying to oral interpellations by directly-elected lawmakers Ng Kuok Cheong and Ella Lei Cheng I during a plenary session of the legislature.

According to the weather bureau’s website, there are currently three levels of storm surge warnings. The bureau issues the first-level warning – the lowest level of storm surge warning, also called the yellow warning – if the flood level is forecast to reach up to 0.5 metres above the road level in the Inner Harbour area.

The second-level warning (also called the red warning) is issued if the water level is expected to reach between 0.5 metres and one metre, while the highest level of a storm surge warning (also called the black warning) is issued if the flood level is forecast to exceed one metre above the road level in the low-lying area along the west coast of the peninsula.

Tam said that the government plans to add two more levels of storm surge warnings: one for when the water level is expected to exceed 1.5 metres while the other will be for flood levels expected to exceed 2.5 metres, adding that the changes would require amendments to an executive order which came into force in 2009.

According to Tam, his bureau plans to add another two categories for tropical cyclone warnings, namely strong typhoon and super typhoon, in addition to the existing four categories, namely tropical depression, tropical storm, strong tropical storm, and typhoon. He added that the changes would require amendments to an executive order enacted back in 2000.

The current classification of the existing four categories depends on the maximum speed of the winds “recorded in the zone of influence”. With winds exceeding 118 km per hour, a storm is considered to be a typhoon, while a storm is classified as any of the other three categories, depending on the situation, if its speed is below 118 km per hour.

Tam also said that his bureau would inform the city’s civil protection structure three hours in advance of the hoisting of the No. 8 typhoon warning signal, with the aim of allowing government entities under the civil protection structure to be better prepared for the approaching typhoon.