‘Black storm’: Parts of Hong Kong submerged after heaviest rain in 140 years

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Hong Kong: Torrential rain has descended on Hong Kong leading to widespread flooding across the densely packed city, submerging streets, shopping malls and metro stations, forcing authorities to shut schools and asked workers to stay at home.

Overnight into Friday, the Chinese special administrative region received the highest hourly rainfall since records began 140 years ago. Cascades of water tumbled down the city’s mountainous terrain and residents were warned of landslide risk.

Streets turned into torrents, videos circulating on social media showed, while one clip showed metro workers wading waist deep in a station as they tried to stem the water gushing down from road level.

A pedestrian negotiates floodwaters in Hong Kong, China, on Friday.Credit: Bloomberg

The cross harbour tunnel, one of main arteries connecting Hong Kong island to Kowloon, was also inundated, while photos showed a waterlogged shopping centre in the Chai Wan district.

Hong Kong Observatory reported rainfall of 15.8 centimetres in just one hour overnight into Friday.

The weather bureau issued the highest “black” rainstorm warning and said more than 20 centimetres of rainfall was recorded on Hong Kong’s main island, Kowloon and the north-eastern part of the city’s New Territories since Thursday night.

The entrance to a shopping centre in Hong Kong after record rains on Friday.Credit: Bloomberg

The trough of low pressure associated with the remnant of typhoon Haikui has brought torrential rain to the coast of China’s Guangdong since Thursday, the weather bureau said.

Extreme conditions were expected to last until at least noon on Friday.

Hong Kong’s stock exchange will remain shut on FRiday afternoon if the “black” rainstorm warning remains in place, the exchange said.

City leader John Lee said he was very concerned about the severe flooding in most parts of the territory and had instructed all departments to respond with “all-out efforts”.

Flood damage and debris following heavy storms in Hong Kong on Friday.Credit: AP

Some passenger and cargo clearance points at two border control points between Hong Kong and neighbouring city Shenzhen were suspended due to flooding, the government said.

In the city’s Wong Tai Sin district, vehicles were submerged on the main road.

Hong Kong’s MTR Corp which operates the city’s rail network said at least one line was shut while others were operating at delayed intervals.

All schools were suspended on Friday due to “extreme conditions caused by extensive flooding and serious traffic disruption,” the government said.

It appealed to employers to observe work arrangements normally used for the strong typhoon signal 8, which brings the city to an effective standstill with offices and stores shut.

Macau ferry operators in Hong Kong said several ferry trips would be suspended to the gambling hub due to widespread flooding in the financial centre.

Macau’s weather bureau issued the lowest “yellow” rainstorm warning on Friday which allows schools and businesses, including the casinos to open as normal.

Widespread storms this week have affected several and distant parts of the world, from Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, to Brazil.


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