HONG KONG, CHINA — Record rainfall in Hong Kong caused widespread flooding Friday, closing schools, suspending border cargo services and disrupting road and rail traffic just days after the city was shut down by a super typhoon.
The Hong Kong Observatory, the city’s weather agency, reported hourly rainfall of 158.1 millimetres at its headquarters in the hour leading up to midnight, the highest since records began in 1884.
Authorities in the Chinese city said various districts had been flooded and emergency services were conducting rescue operations late Thursday. Members of the public were instructed to stay in a safe place.
“Heavy rain will bring flash floods,” the Observatory warned. “Residents living in close proximity to rivers should stay alert to weather conditions and should consider evacuation” if their homes are flooded, it added.
No injuries were reported. By morning, taxis ploughed through flooded roads as morning commuters attempted to make their way to work.
Roadways were also flooded on the island of Lantau, where swollen rivers gushed out to the sea.
Authorities announced that schools were “suspended due to extreme conditions”, and cargo clearance services on the city’s border to the neighbouring tech hub of Shenzhen were also paused.
The border disruption came hours after Hong Kong announced that Shenzhen was preparing to discharge water from its reservoir, which they said could lead to flooding in northern parts of the city as a result.
The city’s Mass Transit Railway announced service disruption on one of its lines after a station in the Wong Tai Sin district was flooded, with another handful of stations also affected.
Footage circulating on social media showed an MTR train not stopping at Wong Tai Sin station, which had floodwater on its platform.
Other video clips showed cars and buses half-submerged on main roads.
‘Remnant of Haikui’
Earlier in the week, Typhoon Haikui left a trail of destruction in Taiwan before crossing the strait and making landfall in China’s Fujian province on Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s observatory said the latest torrential rain was brought by the “trough of low pressure associated with (the) remnant of Haikui”.
Southern China was hit the previous weekend by two typhoons in quick succession — Saola and Haikui — though Hong Kong avoided a feared direct hit.
Tens of millions of people in the densely populated coastal areas of southern China had sheltered indoors ahead of the storms.
Climate change has increased the intensity of tropical storms, with more rain and stronger gusts leading to flash floods and coastal damage, experts say.