typhoon information for expats Expat Advice

Typhoon information for Expats

As Super Typhoon Mangkhut moves across Asia, countries are issuing emergency alters and evacuations. If you’re considering or in the middle of relocation insurance is probably on your mind.

Mangkhut is the equivalent of a category 5 hurricane, and has already become 2018’s strongest storm with wind speeds of 285 kmph (180 mph). A second typhoon, Barijat, is following as it storms across east and southeast Asia. A lot of expats who come from western countries just won’t have experienced anything like this.

What is a typhoon?

A typhoon is a tropical storm – the same as a hurricane or a cyclone. Officially, they’re all called tropical cyclones.

Storms in the western Pacific Ocean or Eastern Hemisphere are called typhoons. Those in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific of the Western Hemisphere are called hurricanes. Cyclones are the tropical storms from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Once a tropical storm reaches sustained winds of 120 kmph (74 mph), it’s classified as a hurricane, typhoon, or tropical cyclone (depending on where in the world the storm originates).

A typhoon is caused by existing weather disturbances, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and generally light winds. If these conditions last long enough they can combine to produce violent waves, rains, winds, and floods. Over the past forty years, typhoons in China and Southeast Asia have been becoming much stronger.

Interested in the history of the biggest typhoons around Hong Kong? Have a look at this table from the Hong Kong Observatory.

The Independent has put together some advice for travellers here.

What to do during a typhoon

Before the typhoon

  • Be prepared to not be able to leave your house. Make sure you have clean water stored, not just on tap, and that there is plenty of food available.
  • Don’t rely on the electricity staying on. Make sure food is cooked, phones are fully charged, and you have battery-powered flashlights and candles.
  • Keep up to date on the latest weather reports and follow any advice.
  • Makes sure you know who the national and local organizations who manage disaster response are.
  • Check in with any friends or family to let them know you’re safe. Check that they are preparing as well.
  • Secure any valuables in higher areas of your house. It’s possible there may be floods.
  • Secure windows, doors, and anything outside like trampolines or kennels.

During the typhoon

  • Stay inside your house and keep up to date on weather reports.
  • Be aware that electricity and communications systems may go down.
  • If you don’t have safe drinking water, boil anything for at least 20 minutes before drinking it.
  • Don’t walk through floodwaters as they can pose risks, including being swept away.
  • If you need to evacuate, turn off your electricity first. Evacuate calmly and listen to the advice of officials.

You can read an article with more information about preparing for typhoon season in Hong Kong here.

What happens with relocation during a typhoon?

We check in with our moving teams, storage facilities, and active shipments. And we keep a close eye on the weather report and official advice. Although shipping ports are open 365 days a year, they do stop when natural disasters like a typhoon pose a threat.

Almost all insurance won’t cover acts of god. This includes moving company insurance and typhoons. We take a lot of care to make sure our staff and any shipments we have are secure and safe and we follow all official advice.

Once the typhoon has passed, we can take stock and continue shipment. If there are any delays, we’ll always advise our customers.

Patrick