The Hong Kong Observatory upgraded warning for Tropical Storm Merbok to No. 8 Gale or Storm Signal on Monday evening, leading dozens of flights to be cancelled and hundreds more delayed.
"Merbok is expected to make landfall near the eastern part of Hong Kong in the next few hours, bringing gales and heavy rain to parts of the territory," said the Hong Kong Observatory, which upgraded the warning from No. 3 Strong Wind Signal to No. 8 Northeast Gale or Storm Signal at 5:20 p.m. local time, and then changed it to No. 8 Northwest Gale or Storm Signal at 8:20 p.m. due to changing local wind direction as Merbok was crossing the eastern part of Hong Kong.
The observatory said the No. 8 Gale or Storm Signal, which means winds with mean speeds of 63 kilometers per hour or more, is expected to remain in force Monday night.
The Airport Authority Hong Kong reported that a total of 41 flights have been cancelled and 322 flights delayed as at 9:00 p.m. local time.
The Hong Kong-Macao Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan, the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, and the Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal in Tuen Mun have been closed temporarily, the Marine Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government announced after the issue of the No. 8 Gale or Storm Signal.
The Home Affairs Department of the HKSAR government said it has opened 21 temporary shelters in various districts and 98 people have sought refuge at the shelters.