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American In Macau’s Ultimate Typhoon Survival Guide

By Ashley Sutherland

Everything you need to know about typhoons. From how to understand the emergency typhoon weather alerts, get advice from Macau locals, and even learn the best inclement weather films to watch and games to play, American In Macau has your ultimate typhoon survival guide! 


There are two major websites that you should store in your bookmarks for rainy days like during storm season: The Hong Kong Observatory and the Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau.  Other sites are helpful to watch but these two websites are trusted by locals for their accuracy in our region.


  • Grab a few extra bottles of water and wine to keep in the pantry
  • Remove all items from your balcony or patio that might fly into/ break your windows
  • If a T8 is on its way, stay away from bridges because you may get stuck on the opposite end of Macau than desired
  • Watch Hong Kong signals because they will often warn you earlier than Macau signals
  • Buses and Ferries stop when a T8 is called
  • When a typhoon is near, batten down the hatches and hug your kids and dogs. Don’t go outside!
  • Charge all of your electronics fully prior to a typhoon.  Especially extra battery packs so that if you lose power, you do not lose access to your phone or laptop
  • Lock your doors and windows & close your shutters tight. It’s going to get very loud and rainy and somewhat chilly.
  • Thrill seekers and first-timers should definitely step onto a balcony or rooftop for a few minutes but proceed with EXTREME CAUTION!
  • STAY AWAY from beach sides, piers, etc.
  • Throw a gathering with wine and movies and boardgames. The weather is too fun to be wasted alone!


Typhoon 1, which looks like a large uppercase T. This alert occurs when the center of a tropical cyclone is less than 800 kilometers from Macau and/ or may later affect us. During this alert, it is important to replenish your reserves of the necessities like water and wine, but there is no need to panic.  Check the safety of objects which might be carried or destroyed by the winds such as fences, scaffoldings, flower pots, antennae etc. When this warning alert begins, it is a great time to keep boats and small crafts in shelters to prepare for the storm.

Typhoon 3, which looks like an uppercase T turned upside down.  This alert occurs when the center of a tropical cyclone follows a pattern of movement that winds to be experienced in Macau may possibly range from 41 to 62 km/h and gusts about 110 km/h. When this happens, all ships and sailing crafts return to the safety of shelters or ports. Residents are advised to check safety of doors and windows, and make sure rain drains are clear. At this point, I will begin checking my iPhone weather apps and the television incessantly watching the weather news! Again though, I am told there is no need to panic and often a T3 looks like a heavy rain storm.

Typhoon 8 is depicted as either a single triangle or two triangles that go in the same direction. The number of triangles and the direction they point indicate which direction the wind is blowing. When this alert occurs, the center of a tropical cyclone is nearing and winds recorded in MSAR, from the quarter indicated, may possibly range from 63 to 117 km/h with gusts reaching about 180 km/h. All schools are closed and all children are kept indoors.  At home, doors and windows should be safely bolted.  During a T8, bridges will close to traffic at any time and television and radio stations will provide around-the-clock coverage. Now, the storm is really getting serious!

Typhoon 9 alerts look like an hourglass and when this alert sounds the center of a tropical cyclone is approaching Macau and it is expected that Macau might be severely affected. At this point, the weather is getting really gnarly so all street traffic should be reduced to a minimum.  You should reinforce doors and windows with crossbars or heavy furniture and stay tuned to all media.


Typhoon 10 is the worst storm alert that can hit Macau.  The center of the incoming tropical cyclone is going to strike Macau. The average wind speed should exceed 118 km/h with gusts of great intensity.  During a T10, you should stay indoors and prepare your home or office for impact.  A temporary calm in the midst of hurricane force winds generally indicates that the center of the tropical cyclone is directly over Macau.


#1: Twister (1996):   Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes. (113 mins.) Starring:  Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Cary Elwes and Philip Seymour Hoffman

#2: The Core (2009): The only way to save Earth from catastrophe is to drill down to the core and set it spinning again. (135 mins.) Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo and Bruce Greenwood

#3: The Little Mermaid (1989): A mermaid princess makes a Faustian bargain with an unscrupulous sea-witch in order to meet a human prince on land. Starring: Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Caroll and Buddy Hackett

#4: The Perfect Storm (2000):  An unusually intense storm pattern catches some commercial fishermen unaware and puts them in mortal danger. (130 mins.)  Starring: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane

#5: The Day After Tomorrow (2004): Jack Hall, paleoclimatologist, must make a daring trek across America to reach his son, trapped in the cross-hairs of a sudden international storm which plunges the planet into a new Ice Age.(124 mins.) Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emmy Rossum, and Dash Mihok

#6: Deep Impact (1998):  Unless a comet can be destroyed before colliding with Earth, only those allowed into shelters will survive. Which people will survive? (120 mins.)  Starring: Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood and Morgan Freeman

#7: Armageddon (1998): After discovering that an asteroid the size of Texas is going to impact Earth in less than a month, N.A.S.A. recruits a misfit team of deep core drillers to save the planet. (151 mins.)  Starring: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler

#8: Frozen (2013): When the newly crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter, her sister, Anna, teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition. (102 mins.)  Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad

#9: Volcano (1997): A volcano erupts in downtown L.A., threatening to destroy the city. (104 mins.)  Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Gaby Hoffmann and Don Cheadle

#10: Noah (2014):  A man is chosen by his world’s creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world.  Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins

#11: Vertical Limit (2000):  A climber must rescue his sister on top of K2, one of the world’s biggest mountains. (124 mins.) Starring: Scott Glenn, Chris O’Donnell, Bill Paxton and Robin Tunney

#12: Ice Age (2002): Set during the Ice Age, a sabertooth tiger, a sloth, and a wooly mammoth find a lost human infant, and they try to return him to his tribe.  Starring: Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and Ray Romano

#13:Alive (1993):  Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the snow-swept Andes are forced to use desperate measures to survive after a plane crash.(120 mins.) Starring: Ethan Hawke, Vincent Spano, Josh Hamilton, and Bruce Ramsay;

#14: 2012 (2009): A frustrated writer struggles to keep his family alive when a series of global catastrophes threatens to annihilate mankind. (158 mins.) Starring: John Cusack, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Amanda Peet

#15: The Edge (1997): An intellectual billionaire and two lesser men struggle to band together and survive after getting stranded in the Alaskan wilderness with a blood-thirsty Kodiak Bear hunting them down. (117 mins.)  Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, Elle Macpherson and Harold Perrineau

and if the power goes out…


#1: Cards Against Humanity:  Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends.  The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card.

#2: Apples to Apples: the game of hilarious comparisons. It’s as easy as comparing apples to apples; just open the box, deal the cards, and you’re ready to play. Select the card from your hand that you think is best described by a card played by the judge.

#3: Trivial Pursuit: a board game in which winning is determined by a player’s ability to answer general knowledge and popular culture questions.

#4: Mafia or Werewolf: The game is composed of two teams: werewolves and townsfolk. The objective of the werewolves is to kill off all the villagers without themselves being killed. The objective of the townsfolk is to figure out who the werewolves are and kill them. One of the townsfolk is a seer, who has the ability to tell whether other players are werewolves or not.

#5: Rummikub: a tile-based game for two to four players, combining elements of the card game rummy and mahjong.

However you choose to pass the time during a storm, stay safe!

Want to know what it’s like to experience a Typhoon Level 10 storm? Read Hateful Hato, The Typhoon That Obliterated Macau: Part 1 & Hateful Hato, The Typhoon That Obliterated Macau: Part 2

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