Macao appears to have escaped major damage and injuries during Typhoon Higos even though storm warning signal No. 10, the highest typhoon signal, remained hoisted for 2 1/2 hours, between 5:00 am and 7:30 am today.
Residents said that while they didn’t notice major damage, they still found Typhoon Higos “very scary” and “very noisy”. They praised the weather station and civil protection authorities for their constant flow of information about the typhoon. “I was quite scared because Higos was so noisy – bangs, rattles and even vibrations in our building,” Carl Leong, who lives in a high-rise in the Nam Van district, told the Macau Post Daily this morning, adding that he only went to sleep at 11 am, “when the humming stopped.”
The Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) lowered the signal No. 10 to No. 8 at 7:30 am and the signal No.8 to No. 3 at 11:30 am. It had hoisted signal No. 8 at 11:30 pm yesterday and replaced it with signal No. 9 at 2:30 am.
The observatory said that it expected signal No. 3 to “remain in effect during a period of time”.
The authorities also lowered all storm surge warning signals at 11:30 am today. The observatory had raised the storm warning signal to “red”, the fourth highest of a 5-level system, as it had expected floods to reach up to 2.50 metres above road level in low-lying areas. However, flooding was less severe than expected, officials said.
At 12 am, Typhoon Higos was estimated to be 110 km west-northwest of Macao moving away inland. It made landfall in Zhuhai.
The Civil Protection Operations Centre (COPC) returned to its routine operations at 11:30 am. As of 11:45 am, the centre had reported 274 incidents such as damage to buildings, fallen trees, street lamps and scaffolding as well as cut electricity cables and overturned vehicles. The centre announced at a press conference this morning that 10 people were taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
Public transport resumed gradually from 11:30 am. Public administration offices will reopen at 2:30 pm after the usual lunch break, the centre said.
The city’s 17 emergency shelter recorded 192 people during the typhoon, fewer than initially expected.
Macao’s bridges also reopened to vehicular traffic at 11:30 am.
Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak oversaw the civil protection measures. Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng inspected the centre’s operations this morning.