Rain

Martial law in Thailand and factory riots in Vietnam have left Hong Kong largely unaffected and unscathed. The only news here is rain.
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It rains. It has been raining for weeks. There were two weeks wherein it did not stop. This was followed by weeks when it rained at least part of every day. One always needed to have am umbrella. If you forgot one day, you were doomed to dampness.

This constant precipitation affects life if some contradictory ways. On Sundays, traffic is lighter, no one goes to the beach. On weekdays traffic is worse and you struggle to find a taxi. People use amber warnings as reason to not show up to any number of activities. Others use it as reason to dig into that book they want to read on a Friday night.

In Hong Kong you learn new terms for weather. Each type of inclement weather has a range of color corresponding to severity. Rainstorms go from no warning, to Amber, to Red, to Black, at which point you stay put and do not venture outdoors because of the flooding. Typhoons are either 3, when you’re in the potential path, 5, when they might raise it to 8 and send everyone home, 8, when it is bad and no one goes outdoors and you secure your outdoor furniture, and 10, when it is worse. “Fine” means there is a thin layer of cloud cover through which you can see hints of blue. Winds that are between “Moderate” and “Gale” are called “Fresh”. Waves that are higher than “Very High” are “Phenomenal”. Watching the HK Observatory app and website is almost a sport. We have been under nearly permanent thunderstorm warnings, and occasional rainstorms, and sometimes monsoon.

Last night woke up the entire town at 3am to flashes of daylight-producing-lightning and thunder akin to putting your head in the midst of excessively loud bowling pins in a strike. The most interesting map to watch on the hko website was the lightning map, which was full. I got a text at 3:30 that our 6am dragon boat practice would be canceled. Everyone was already awake.
I got up and watched the lightning strike through the window over the drenched and nearly empty streets. Eventually I returned to sleep, enjoying the surprise lie in.

By late morning it was sunny. I carried my big umbrella but haven’t opened it all day. So exciting.

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