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Typhoon Hagupit (0814)
19 ?25 September 2008

Hagupit was the fifth tropical cyclone that necessitated the issuance of tropical cyclone warning signals in Hong Kong in 2008. It was also the fourth tropical cyclone that necessitated the issuance of the No. 8 Gale or Storm Signal in the year, making this year the one with the most No. 8 Signals since 1999.

Hagupit formed as a tropical depression over the western North Pacific about 2 540 km east-southeast of Hong Kong on the morning of 19 September and moved west-southwestwards. It intensified into a tropical storm on the early hours of 20 September, and into a severe tropical storm that afternoon and moved west-northwestwards. Hagupit moved northwestwards and intensified further into a typhoon on 21 September. Moving west-northwestwards, Hagupit crossed the Balintang Channel on 22 September and entered the South China Sea that evening. Hagupit moved at a speed close to 30 km/h across the northern part of the South China Sea on 23 September and passed about 180 km south-southwest of Hong Kong from about 10 to 11 p.m. on 23 September. While crossing the northern part of the South China Sea, Hagupit attained an estimated maximum sustained surface wind speed of about 175 km/h near the centre, and was the most intense typhoon to affect Hong Kong so far this year. Hagupit made landfall near Dianbai in western Guangdong on the morning of 24 September. It weakened into a severe tropical storm that afternoon and further into a tropical storm that evening. Hagupit weakened into a tropical depression on the small hours of 25 September and into an area of low pressure over northern Vietnam that morning. According to press reports, nine people were killed in the Philippines. In Guangdong and Guangxi, at least five people were killed and two others missing. About 8.5 million people were affected, over 14 000 houses collapsed and the direct economic losses were around RMB$ 5.8 billion. Hagupit triggered floods and landslides in northern Vietnam, where at least 25 people were killed, seven missing and 20 others injured.

In Hong Kong, the Standby Signal No. 1 was issued at 6.40 p.m. on 22 September when Hagupit was about 780 km east-southeast of Hong Kong. Local winds were light to moderate northwesterlies on 22 September. As Hagupit moved closer to Hong Kong, the Strong Wind Signal No. 3 was issued at 10.25 a.m. on 23 September when Hagupit was about 350 km to the southeast. Local winds freshened from the north and became strong on high grounds that morning. As Hagupit was a relatively fast moving typhoon, local winds strengthened rapidly in the afternoon, becoming generally strong with gales on high grounds. The No. 8 NE Gale or Storm Signal was issued at 6.00 p.m. that day when Hagupit was about 210 km to the south-southeast. Gale force northeasterlies to easterlies prevailed over Hong Kong that night, with storm force winds offshore and on high grounds, and occasionally reaching hurricane force on high grounds. Sustained gale or storm force winds were attained in four of the eight reference stations in the network of reference anemometers in the tropical cyclone warning system, and the maximum 10-minute mean wind was 113 km/h at Cheung Chau. With Hagupit starting to move away from Hong Kong on the early hours of 24 September, local winds turned to the southeast and the No. 8 SE Gale or Storm Signal was issued at 12.40 a.m. on 24 September. The gale or storm force winds in Hong Kong gradually subsided thereafter and the No. 8 Signal was replaced by the No. 3 Strong Wind Signal at 6.30 a.m. that morning. All tropical cyclone warning signals were cancelled at 12.50 p.m. that day as Hagupit moved further away and local winds continued to subside.

During the passage of Hagupit, the lowest instantaneous mean sea-level pressures recorded at some selected stations were as follows :-


Lowest instantaneous
mean sea-level pressure


First and last time recorded

Hong Kong Observatory Headquarters

992.2 hPa


5.49 6.57 p.m.

Waglan Island

990.4 hPa


6.51 6.55 p.m.

Cheung Chau

992.0 hPa


8.23 p.m.

Hong Kong International Airport

992.2 hPa


8.29 8.48 p.m.

The weather was fine and very hot with some haze on 22 September.  It became cloudy with heavy squally showers on the next day.  Heavy squally showers continued to affect Hong Kong on 24 September.  The Amber Rainstorm Warning Signal was in force between 11.05 a.m. and 4.20 p.m. and more than 100 millimetres of rainfall were recorded over Hong Kong Island, western part of the New Territories and Lantau Island on that day. The combined effect of the storm surges of Hagupit and high tides resulted in a maximum sea level of 3.53 metres at Quarry Bay, the highest since Typhoon Wanda in September 1962.  At Tai Po Kau, the maximum sea level was 3.77 metres and was the highest there since Typhoon Hope in August 1979.

In Hong Kong, at least 58 people were injured during the passage of Hagupit.  There were 16 reports of flooding, seven of collapsed scaffolding and 46 of fallen trees.  Around 4 500 trees were damaged with around 1 000 of them severely damaged.  In Hung Hom, 50 windows of a residential building were blown out.  Storm surges associated with Hagupit combined with high tides led to flooding and damages in the coastal areas.  Hugh waves damaged an embankment in front of a row of houses in Cheung Chau, forcing the evacuation of more than 100 residents. The waves also caused damage to the wooden seaside walkway in Discovery Bay and vehicles near the Ocean Park.  Flooding due to back-flow of sea water affected low-lying areas in many parts of Hong Kong, including Tai O, Peng Chau, Tuen Mun, Sham Tseng, Sai Kung, Yau Tong, Lei Yue Mun and Chai Wan.  The flooding in Tai O, which cut off electricity supply and affected more than 200 households there, was reported to be the most serious in the past 60 to 70 years.  At least 10 vessels sank or were damaged near Peng Chau.  On the Tsim Sha Tsui East promenade, three barges smashed into the seawall after they broke free from their anchors in the waterfront at Yau Tong.  Three popular beaches on Lantau Island were severely damaged as waves brought tons of rubbish to the shore or washed away tons of sand.  At the Hong Kong International Airport, over 400 flights were either cancelled or delayed. A Boeing Classic 747-200 cargo plane parked at the Hong Kong International Airport was rotated about 90 degrees under strong wind. Seven fishermen were rescued from a sinking boat at about 110 km northeast of Hong Kong but 17 crewmen were missing after a cargo ship capsized southwest of Macau.


Last revision date: <18 Dec 2012>