Where I come from, it rains on average about 9 – 15 inches per YEAR so LITERALLY anywhere but home, of course, is a place where it rains a lot! So after living and surviving monsoon for a couple of years in India, you’d think that living out another monsoon season would simply be a breeze. I mean, sure, it rains loads in both India and Hong Kong (the average in HK is around 95 inches a year but 2008 had one single hour when it rained a whopping 5.7 inches!). But I promise you … Bangalore’s got NOTHIN’ on Hong Kong!
To set the tone, this is my first time living through the season without a car so that’s certainly making it more interesting. Storms come on very fast and strong here (on a positive note, they do go away very quickly too!). The lightening strikes are INSANE, the thunder rumbles so loud and intensely that I almost feel unsafe up high in my flat and the rain falls by the bucketload. Already in the first real week of monsoon we’ve already seen one amber alert and one red alert here in Hong Kong. These are very handy designations that the government’s Observatory has come up with to keep everyone safe, which I’ve listed below.
The first time I attempted to head out in an Amber Alert I was on my way to the MTR (metro) and lasted about half a block before taking refuge in the first taxi that I saw … and still showed up for my appointment dripping wet. Granted I didn’t know we were in Amber until the taxi driver alerted me but MAN was I unprepared for stepping out!! 🙂 But I’ve learned a couple of things that seem like complete logic NOW (yes, feeling very blonde hehe), so here you go:
My TIPS for surviving monsoon on foot
- Invest in a monster size umbrella! No joke, that was the first mistake I made. I didn’t want to lug a big umbrella around when I was running errands after my appointment so I dashed out with the ‘oh-so-convenient’ retractable model. Now I have sturdy larger sized umbrella with my eye on one of those ridiculously large golf ones if I see this one still doesn’t do the trick!
- Wear rubber boots! Whether you’re a man or woman (or child), there’s no better shoe for monsoon, which like many shoe victims before me I learned the hard way. Until this week I had never needed rain boots so I bought hunter green Aigle’s on the recommendation of a friend and love them. Click here to visit their site, with shop locations all around HK!
GIRLS: my friend Samuel in Europe, who is an international image manager, gave me this advice for rocking the boots I bought in style: ‘It’s perfectly fine to wear the boots all day but be careful with the look. Since it’s hot in Hong Kong, wear a cute skirt or dress, not too long, in neutral colours to make the boots stand out. That way you draw more attention to the boots and people see you aren’t just wearing them for the rain!’
Amber, Red and Black Alerts
These handy classifications help everyone know if it’s okay to head out during a storm or not. Be sure to save THIS LINK to their website in case you’re ever in doubt.
Amber – 30mm or more of rain per hour (1.1”)
- Expect a bunch of rain but it seems to come and go so you can head out easily when it lightens up (just move quick!)
- If you are older or it’s hard for you to get around, please stay in
- Everyone else carry on as normal but be on alert in case it goes to red or black
- If you’re a farmer or fish pond owner, go check your drainage systems or reduce the amount of water in ponds (I swear, it’s in the official descriptions!)
Red – 50mm or more of rain per hour (2”)
- It’s gonna be raining cats and dogs but if you have rain boots on and don’t mind the adventure you can still head out and have some laughs over it!
- Be careful if you go outdoors, and if you work outdoors please suspend your work
- For other employees, if public transport is still in operation then you should go to work. However if transport services are about to be suspended, then either don’t go in or leave work immediately to not be stuck there
- Employers are requested to be flexible with staff during red alerts
Black – 70mm or more of rain per hour (2.8”)
- Grab your row boat! From what I hear it rains so much you can’t see in front of your face and mini floods can pop up so TAKE CARE and stay in!!
- Stay indoors or take shelter
- Temporary refuge shelters are opened by the Home Affairs Department
- Employees are advised not to go to work. If they are already there, employees should stay until it’s safe to leave (unless it is dangerous to do so)
Maybe they had these in India but I never heard anything of the sort, nor in Europe or back home in Southern California but I can certainly see why they have Alerts in Hong Kong! Please do take note of them, be careful and keep yourself safe!!
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