Hong Kong Observatory issues T8 typhoon signal on Sunday morning. Photo: Hong Kong Observatory

The Hong Kong Observatory issued a No. 8 Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal at 5:10am on Sunday as typhoon Pakhar is close to Hong Kong.

Unless Pakhar intensifies further, the chance of issuing higher signal will not be high, according to the Observatory.

Local winds are strengthening, reaching occasional storm force over offshore areas and on high ground. According to the present forecast track, Pakhar will be closest to Hong Kong in the next few hours, skirting within 150 kilometres southwest of the territory and landing to the west of the Pearl River Estuary around noon.

At 5am, Severe Tropical Storm Pakhar was estimated to be about 140 kilometres south of Hong Kong and is forecast to move northwest at about 30 kilometres per hour towards the west of the Pearl River Estuary.

This means that winds with mean speeds of 41 to 62 kilometres per hour are expected. Winds locally will strengthen further.

In the past hour, the maximum sustained winds recorded at Tate’s Cairn, Tap Mun and Cheung Chau Beach were 96, 73 and 71 kilometres per hour with maximum gusts 140, 94 and 90 kilometres per hour respectively.

The Education Bureau announced that classes of all day schools are suspended today. If classes of evening schools are required to be suspended, the bureau will make the announcement in due course.

Rainbands associated with Pakhar are bringing frequent heavy rain and squalls to Hong Kong. There may be flooding in low-lying areas. Seas will be rough with swells. Members of the public are advised to stay away from the shoreline and not to engage in water sports.

Cathay Pacific expects flight delays and cancellations on Sunday. The MTR says it is providing limited rail and bus services.

Macau also issued a No. 8 Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal Number 8 at 6am.

[Update] At 1:40pm, the Observatory issued the No. 3 Strong Wind Signal, replacing the No. 8 Signal as Pakhar made landfall over Taishan of Guangdong.

Under the influence of Pakhar’s rainbands, occasional gale force winds will still prevail over the southwestern part of Hong Kong at first. The Strong Wind Signal No.3 is expected to remain in force for some time. The Observatory will consider to issue the Standby Signal No. 1 when strong winds no longer affect Hong Kong.

Heavy showers may also cause flooding in low-lying areas. Seas will be rough with swells. In the past hour, the maximum sustained winds recorded at Tap Mun, Sai Kung and Cheung Chau were 60, 57 and 51 kilometres per hour respectively.

Read: Eight killed, 150 injured in Macau by Typhoon Hato

Read: Category 10 Typhoon Hato locks down Hong Kong

Photo: Hong Kong Observatory