Record-breaking rainfall causes widespread flooding in Hong Kong and southern China

Hong Kong and southern Chinese cities are currently facing severe flooding as the region experiences some of the heaviest rainfall in its history. The downpour, which began on Thursday, has resulted in streets and subway stations being submerged in Hong Kong, leading to the closure of schools and workplaces. This rainfall has been identified as the largest in nearly 140 years, according to the weather bureau. The situation has necessitated numerous rescues, with images showing locals wading through flooded streets. Furthermore, landslides have occurred, blocking several roads across the region.

In response to the dangerous conditions, weather authorities issued a “black” rainstorm signal on Thursday, signaling rainfall exceeding 70mm per hour. The Hong Kong Observatory later reported an hourly rainfall of 158.1 millimeters, the highest ever recorded since 1884. Videos circulating on social media depict rain coursing through the city, transforming streets into raging rivers and forcing individuals to seek refuge on cars and other elevated platforms. Southern China has also been heavily affected by the rainfall, with Shenzhen reporting its most significant recorded rains since 1952. As a result, numerous flights have been suspended in the greater Guangdong province, and local authorities have cautioned residents in low-lying areas about the potential for flash flooding, suggesting possible evacuations.

The densely populated coastal areas of southern China, home to tens of millions of people, are particularly vulnerable to the impact of this extreme weather. In Hong Kong, the cross-harbor tunnel, a vital connection between the main island and the Kowloon peninsula, has also been inundated. Between 6:00 PM local time and midnight, over 200mm of rain was recorded in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the northeastern part of the city, surpassing the average rainfall for entire months. Furthermore, officials in Shenzhen are preparing to release water from reservoirs, a move that could potentially lead to further flooding in northern Hong Kong. China’s meteorological administration predicts that the southwestern region will continue to experience extreme rainfall throughout Friday and Saturday.

This deluge of rain comes only a few days after two consecutive typhoons, Saola and Haikui, hit southern China, causing Hong Kong to undergo a citywide shutdown. The frequency and intensity of tropical storms have increased due to climate change, resulting in more flash flooding and significant damage.

It is crucial for residents in affected areas to prioritize their safety and follow guidelines provided by local authorities. Evacuation orders should be heeded, especially for individuals residing in low-lying regions. Travel plans should be postponed or altered due to flight suspensions and potential road closures. Additionally, residents and businesses should stay updated on official weather advisories and be prepared for further disruptions as extreme rainfall continues in the region.