Monday, September 14, 2009

Word for the day: HOISTED

When I hear the word hoisted, I think about clotheslines or flags or main sails on a ship. Here in Hong Kong, however, the word is used in conjunction with a tropical cyclone or typhoon warning. For instance, we had a bit of excitement today in Hong Kong because a T8 signal was hoisted.

The image below shows our Typhoon named KOPPU at 7 PM today, the 14th of September, 2009.

The Hong Kong Observatory issues tropical cyclone warning signals when a tropical cyclone poses a threat to Hong Kong. Radio and television and internet provide regular and continuous updates when the signals are issued. Our residential estate also puts a notice on the lobby door to keep residents informed.

When I took the kids to school this morning there was a T1 signal hoisted. This simply meant that a typhoon was on its way.

At noon a T3 warning signal was hoisted, telling us that winds were becoming stronger and we should secure any loose objects on our balcony and rooftop. I had to go and get Keegan because the kindergartens here have a policy that all early childhood educational centres close with a T3.

Later this afternoon it was upgraded to a T8. Most shops and businesses closed, flights were cancelled, people went home, and the winds and rain really picked up. We were told to stay away from our glass windows in case they shattered. It was quite exhilerating watching the trees bending right over outside. As I type this, the wind is howling eerily through vents in our roof, but the children have gone off to sleep with no problems.

I believe warning signals up to 10 can be issued but this typhoon is not likely to get that bad. We expect it to be all over by the morning.

In the past, warning signals were physically hoisted at various locations in Hong Kong. However, now with internet and television weather reports, the need to hoist physical signals diminished. It seems the phrase "Signal Number __ has been hoisted" is still widely used by the public and the mass media when issuing their tropical cyclone warnings.


  1. Do you pick up Jemilla with a T3 signal too, or do you have to go back out and get her with a different signal (braving the elements)?

  2. I wasn't called to come and get Jemilla but if it had reached a T8 while school was in session, then I would have to get her.