Hong Kong Flood: Heaviest Rainfall Since 1884

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Hong Kong, September 8, 2023 – The city of Hong Kong finds itself grappling with an unprecedented crisis as a torrential downpour has triggered a historic Hong Kong flood. This catastrophic event, marked by the heaviest rainfall since 1884, has sent shockwaves through the city’s infrastructure, forcing many businesses and schools to shutter their doors. All of this comes in the aftermath of Typhoon Saola, which battered the region just days ago.

Will Heavy Rain Cause Flooding in Hong Kong?

The deluge began late Thursday night, with the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) recording a staggering 158 millimeters of rainfall between 11 p.m. and midnight, marking the highest hourly rainfall ever recorded since records began in 1884. The government’s response to this extreme Hong Kong flood was swift, issuing the most severe “black” rainstorm warning to alert residents to the impending danger. Urgent messages urged people to stay indoors, find shelter, and brace for the possibility of flash floods. For those residing near rivers, the recommendation was to consider immediate evacuation.

hong kong flood

What Caused a Flooded Street in Hong Kong?

Images and videos circulating on Friday paint a grim picture of the city submerged in water, with cars struggling through flooded roads and brave individuals wading through murky brown floodwaters. The severity of the situation forced authorities to conduct daring rescues for drivers stranded in partially submerged vehicles.

Some parking lots were so inundated that car roofs were barely visible above the waterline. As the day unfolded, distressing footage widely shared on social media depicted a subway station in Wong Tai Sin, a northern district, submerged in waist-high water, with floodwater cascading down the stairs. The result? Train services to several stations on the same subway line were suspended due to the Hong Kong flood, according to the city’s subway operator.

What Happened in Hong Kong After a Typhoon?

While the subway system faced disruptions, other modes of public transportation also bore the brunt of the flood’s impact. Bus, tram, and ferry services across the city came to a grinding halt, causing massive disruptions in daily commuting. RTHK reported on the extensive challenges faced by the city’s transportation infrastructure in the wake of the Hong Kong flood.

Early Friday morning, the government declared the suspension of all schools, prioritizing the safety of students and staff. Simultaneously, businesses were strongly encouraged to permit non-essential employees to remain in safe locations instead of venturing to their workplaces. The irony of this crisis lies in its timing, as it unfolds just days after Hong Kong confronted Typhoon Saola, which weakened from a super typhoon to the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane upon reaching the city.

Nevertheless, it was potent enough to uproot trees and cause hundreds of flight cancellations, leading to 86 reported injuries. The Hong Kong flood serves as a stark reminder of the city’s vulnerability to extreme weather events, with this recent occurrence marking the highest hourly rainfall in 140 years.

What Happened in Hong Kong on Friday?

According to the Hong Kong Observatory, a staggering 158.1 millimeters (6.2 inches) of rain fell between 11 p.m. HKT on Thursday and midnight on Friday (1500 to 1600 GMT on Thursday). The Hong Kong flood reached alarming levels, and the weather bureau’s highest “black” rainstorm warning indicated that more than 200 millimeters of rainfall had been recorded on Hong Kong’s main island, Kowloon, and the northeastern part of the New Territories since Thursday night.

The power of social media provided a platform for residents to share their experiences, with videos depicting streets turned into raging rivers and one particularly shocking clip showing water gushing down an escalator into a swamped subway station. Even major transportation arteries, such as the city’s cross-harbor tunnel, succumbed to the onslaught of water. Additionally, photos revealed a waterlogged shopping center in the Chai Wan district, illustrating the extensive impact of the Hong Kong flood.

Hong Kong’s MTR Corp, responsible for the city’s rail network, reported at least one line being shut down, while others operated on delayed intervals. As authorities continue to navigate this ongoing crisis, the safety of all residents remains a paramount concern amidst this historic Hong Kong flood.

Amidst the chaos, the city’s resilience shines as its people come together in the face of adversity. The Hong Kong flood is a stark reminder of the challenges posed by extreme weather events, yet it also highlights the unwavering spirit of Hong Kong.

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