Hong Kong’s heaviest rainfall in 140 years submerges subways, closes schools

Hong Kong was flooded by the heaviest rainfall in nearly 140 years on Friday, leaving the city's streets and some subway stations under water and forcing its schools to close, News.Az reports citing AFP.

Just across the border, authorities in China's tech hub Shenzhen recorded the heaviest rains since records began in 1952.

Climate change has increased the intensity of tropical storms, experts say, with more rain and stronger gusts leading to flash floods and coastal damage.

The heavy rainfall in Hong Kong started on Thursday and in the hour leading up to midnight, the city's weather observatory recorded hourly rainfall of 158.1 millimetres at its headquarters, the highest since records began in 1884.

"It's absolutely shocking," said Jacky, 52, who lives in the Wong Tai Sin district with his elderly parents. "I don't remember floods ever being this bad in our district."

"The bottom floor of the mall is completely flooded, the water level is higher than the storefronts... it's turned our day into chaos," he added.

Authorities issued flash flood warnings, with emergency services conducting rescue operations in parts of the territory.

"Residents living in close proximity to rivers should stay alert to weather conditions and should consider evacuation" if their homes are flooded, the observatory said.

It also warned of potential landslips, telling motorists to "keep away from steep slopes or retaining walls".

Hong Kong's stock exchange cancelled all trading sessions on Friday.

Government officials said "extreme conditions" will last until at least 6:00 pm local time (1000 GMT), while the Hospital Authority said more than 80 people had sought help at emergency rooms.

On Friday morning, taxis struggled through flooded roads as commuters attempted to make their way to work.

Some cars were left stranded in the deluge.

Roads were also flooded on the island of Lantau, where rivers swelled over their banks.

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 those storms.

Hong Kong's weather observatory said the latest torrential rain was brought by the "trough of low pressure associated with (the) remnant of Haikui".


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