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  • Hong Kong Observatory commemorates 100th anniversary of numbered typhoon signals

  • Wednesday, 7th June 2017
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of numbered typhoon signals in Hong Kong. To commemorate the occasion, the Hong Kong Observatory has arranged new exhibits at the Cheung Chau Meteorological Station to promote public understanding of typhoon-related hazards and enhance disaster prevention awareness. Exhibits include physical objects of the tropical cyclone warning signals, as well as introductions to the evolution of the numbered typhoon signal system, the history of the Cheung Chau Signal Station and Cheung Chau’s typhoon history.

The director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Shun Chi-ming, today (June 7) said that the numbered typhoon signal system in Hong Kong is simple and easy, and has helped to safeguard people’s lives and property from typhoon hazards over the past century. “Through presenting a review of the evolution of the signal system and typhoon history, we hope to increase public awareness on prevention against typhoon-related hazards”, he said.

In 1884, the Observatory started to provide tropical cyclone warning services to the public through the use of a typhoon gun. In 1917, numbered typhoon signals were introduced in Hong Kong to warn the public about the wind strength and direction of tropical cyclones. The numbered typhoon signal system has been revised several times and the current version was adopted in 1973.

In the 1960s, there were over 40 signal stations hoisting tropical cyclone and strong monsoon signals in Hong Kong. As communication technology developed, the hoisting of typhoon signals became outdated and these stations were gradually closed from the 1970s onward. The Cheung Chau Signal Station became the last signal station in Hong Kong to decommission services on January 1, 2002, marking the end of the era of hoisting physical typhoon signals in the territory.

The Observatory will organise guided tours for registered members of public to visit the Cheung Chau Meteorological Station, so as to enhance public understanding of the evolution of the numbered typhoon warning signal system. Relevant details will be announced later. The public can also view the short video at http://www.hko.gov.hk/100YearsTCSignals/video_uc.htm and the Observatory’s webpage at http://www.hko.gov.hk/informtc/tcsignal_history.htm for more information on the history of the numbered typhoon warning signal system.

Note: Short video on the visit (Cantonese only): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spk6ErgiDPo

Figure 1
Figure 1.  The Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Shun Chi-ming (fourth right), is pictured with guests at the Cheung Chau Meteorological Station today (June 7).
Figure 2
Figure 2.  The Senior Scientific Officer of the Hong Kong Observatory, Dr TC Lee (first right), introduces the new exhibits related to evolution of numbered typhoon signal system, history of Cheung Chau Signal Station, as well as typhoon histories of Cheung Chau at the Cheung Chau Meteorological Station today (June 7).
Figure 3
Figure 3.  The former Chief Scientific Assistant of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Wat Kam-sing (first left), shares his past working experience at the Cheung Chau Meteorological Station today (June 7) .
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Figure 4.  The former Chief Scientific Assistant of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Wat Kam-sing, shares his past working experience at the Cheung Chau Meteorological Station today (June 7) .