The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO), Guangdong Meteorological Bureau (GMB), and Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) jointly opened the lightning sensor station at Huidong today (September 7). The ceremony at the Huidong Meteorological Observing Station at Huizhou, Guangdong, also marked the start of the third year of smooth running of the tripartite lightning location network.
The new Huidong lightning sensor station is located to the northeast of Hong Kong. The new station expands the coverage in lightning detection to the east of Hong Kong, strengthening the monitoring of thunderstorms approaching from the east such as those brought by the outer rainbands of tropical cyclones. Together with the existing lightning sensor stations in Hong Kong, Sanshui (Foshan, Guangdong) and Taipa, Macau, the expanded network enables a more comprehensive monitoring of thunderstorm development in the Pearl River Delta (PRD), contributing towards disaster prevention.
HKO also launched an enhanced lightning location information webpage today to strengthen the dissemination of lightning information. The enhanced webpage provides more geographical references, such as swimming pools, country parks and reservoirs, to make it easier for the public to identify locations affected by lightning.
The Director of HKO, Mr Lam Chiu-ying said the damage caused by thunderstorms had attracted much public attention. "The lightning location network jointly set up by GMB, HKO and SMG is a win-win model bringing benefits to all sides through close co-operation. It has brought new opportunities in the delivery of weather service and usefully supplements the present thunderstorm warnings issued by the meteorological service," Mr Lam said.
"Through convenient channels such as the Internet, the public can get a more accurate and comprehensive picture of the weather situation."
Director of the Guangdong Meteorological Bureau, Mr Yu Yong, said the Pearl River Delta was frequented by thunderstorms. Each year, thunderstorms claimed lives and brought huge economic losses.
"Therefore enhancing lightning detection and research is very important and has practical significance. With the Huidong sensor station coming into operation, it would further strengthen GMB's capability in forecasting thunderstorms. We will continue to work closely with each other and contribute towards the disaster prevention and mitigation in PRD," he said.
Director of the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau, Dr Fong Soi-kun, said the damage caused by lightning strikes could result in huge economic losses and much inconvenience to the public. Timely lightning location information had been made available on the webpage for mobile phones to facilitate access by users. The expansion of the lightning network is a good demonstration of the collaboration between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau meteorological services to reduce loss of life and property brought by severe weather.
Mayor of Huidong county in Huizhou, Mr Hu Jian-bin, said Huidong was honoured to have the lightning sensor station located in the county. "We will do everything we can to ensure accurate acquisition of data and normal operation of equipment."
To make it easier for the public to identify the lightning locations within a rain area and gain a better grasp of the weather information, Hong Kong Observatory launched the trial version of the enhanced lightning location information webpage two months ago. The system was put into full operation today after running smoothly and obtaining encouraging public response in the trial period.
Apart from providing a bigger and clearer electronic map, the time to download the enhanced webpage is much reduced. Users can also overlay radar images on top of the lightning location map and play them in animation.
The Observatory's lightning webpage is available at
http://www.weather.gov.hk/wxinfo/llis/index.htm and for PDA
SMG's lightning webpage is available at