[2:02pm] The observatory has issued a typhoon signal number 8 at 1:40pm as tropical storm Wipha approaches the city.

This means that winds with mean speeds of 63 kilometers per hour or more are expected from the northeast quarter.

At 2pm, Tropical Storm Wipha was centered about 340 kilometers south of Hong Kong (near 19.3 degrees north 113.6 degrees east) and is forecast to move northwest at about 15 kilometers per hour towards the vicinity of western Guangdong.

According to the present forecast track, Wipha will edge gradually closer to the coast of western Guangdong and will be closest to Hong Kong later today, skirting around 300 kilometers to our southwest. The Gale or storm signal, No. 8 is expected to remain in force for most of rest of today.

The observatory also issued an amber rainstorm warning signal at 11:55am. This means that heavy rain has fallen or is expected to fall generally over Hong Kong, exceeding 30 millimeters in an hour, and is likely to continue.

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Tropical storm Wipha approaches Hong Kong. Photo: HK Observatory

[12:15pm] The Hong Kong Observatory said it expected to issue a typhoon signal number 8 by 2pm on Wednesday as tropical storm Wipha approaches the city.

A Strong Wind Signal, No 3, is in force. This means that winds with speeds of 41 to 62 kilometers per hour are expected. Winds will strengthen further, the observatory said.

At noon, Tropical Storm Wipha was estimated to be about 370 kilometers south of Hong Kong and is forecast to move northwest at about 15 kilometers per hour towards the vicinity of western Guangdong.

The Education Bureau announced that classes at all schools were suspended on Wednesday. It said schools should implement contingency measures to ensure the safety of students and ensure that conditions are safe before allowing students to return home.

By late morning on Wednesday, Wipha had adopted a more northerly track. Wipha’s rainbands were not uniform, with more development on its eastern side and higher winds.

According to the present forecast track, Wipha will edge gradually closer to the coast of western Guangdong and will be closest to Hong Kong late on Wednesday, skirting about 300 kilometers to the southwest. Local winds were expected to strengthen in the afternoon.

The rainbands associated with Wipha will bring heavy showers and squalls to the territory. Seas will also be rough with swells. People have been advised to stay away from the shoreline and low-lying areas and not to engage in water sports.

The Hong Kong government advised members of the public with long or difficult journeys home or those who have to return to outlying islands to start their journeys early. The government was making arrangements to release its employees.

Transport services were affected, with a number of ferry services between outlying islands suspended. Winds were expected to strengthen in the afternoon and the rain bands associated with Wipha will bring heavy showers and squalls to the territory.

This article has been updated at 2:02pm.