The Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) issued the third level of a storm surge warning (“orange”) at 8:30 pm Tuesday – indicating that the flood level is forecast to reach between 1 metre and 1.5 metres above the road level in the Inner Harbour area, before hoisting the typhoon signal No. 8 at 11:30 pm.
This was the first time that the weather station had hoisted the typhoon signal No. 8 this year.
The government’s Civil Protection Operations Centre (COPC) held a press conference Tuesday night to brief the media about the expected impact of Typhoon Higos – the typhoon moved closer to Macao on Tuesday than previously forecast, as well as its Orange Storm Surge Warning, and its voluntary evacuation operation for residents in low-lying areas.
The government launched its storm surge evacuation plan for residents in the city’s low-lying areas tonight as it forecasts that serious flooding will hit the areas Wednesday in the wake of the impact of Typhoon Higos and a storm surge.
The government launched its storm surge evacuation plan at 8:30 pm on Tuesday when the orange storm surge warning was issued.
During Tuesday night’ press conference, the commander of the government’s civil protection operations, Unitary Police Service (SPU) Commissioner-General Leong Man Cheong, said that the evacuation operation would involve 2,800 residents and be carried out on a voluntary basis.
Under the evacuation plan, the city’s 17 evacuation shelters and four emergency assembly and pick-up points opened to residents at 8:30 pm on Tuesday.
The elderly, infirm and disabled could go to one of the four emergency assembly or pick-up points where they would be transported in government-arranged vehicles to Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion, an evacuation shelter with barrier-free facilities.
SMG Director Leong Weng Kun said that Higos, a strong tropical storm, was expected to be significantly less strong than the deadly Super Typhoon Hato, which pummelled Macao in 2017 and killed 10 people.
Leong said that by using its storm surge forecasting model his bureau predicted that there was an 80 per cent probability that the Inner Harbour area would be hit by serious flooding of between 1 metre and 1.5 metres between 5 am and 12 pm Wednesday.
Macau’s storm surge warning signals comprise five levels.
The first-level warning (blue) is issued if the flood level is forecast to reach up to 0.5 metre above the road level in the Inner Harbour area, while the second level (yellow) is issued if the flood level is forecast to reach between 0.5 metre and 1 metre, the third level (orange) is issued if the flood level is forecast to reach between 1 metre and 1.5 metres, the fourth level (red) is issued if the flood level is forecast to reach between 1.5 metres and 2.5 metres, and the fifth level (black) is issued if the flood level is forecast to exceed 2.5 metres.
The Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau said earlier Friday that Higos was moving closer to Macao than previously forecast. The weather bureau initially forecast that Higos would move towards the western tip of Guangdong province, but it changed its forecast according to which Higos was predicted to move towards somewhere between Zhuhai and Maoming.
The government announced Tuesday night that the city’s six gaming operators have provided residents with a total of 3,190 free car parking spaces in their gaming resorts.
The government also closed 20 public car parks in the city’s low-lying areas at 9:30 pm Tuesday, one hour after the issuing of the orange storm surge warning.
The government also urged residents not to stay in low-lying areas or any underground spaces such as basements and underground car parks.
Meanwhile, local power utility CEM said Tuesday night that as the orange storm surge warning had been issued, it would possibly suspend electricity supply in various areas on the peninsula so as to avoid possible damage to its power facilities in the streets.