Schools, subways disrupted as storm batters China’s south

BEIJING (Reuters) – All schools, some subway stations and offices in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen were shut on Friday, as residual storm clouds from Typhoon Haikui unleashed historic rainfall for a fourth day.

China Meteorological Administration said heavy rain would continue to fall until early Saturday on the central and southwestern areas of Guangdong, the home of Shenzhen and one of China’s wealthiest provinces.

Residents holding onto safety lines waded cautiously through knee-deep floodwaters late on Thursday in Shenzhen, a metropolis of 17.7 million people, videos from state-backed Xinhua showed.

Rescuers also cordoned off overflowing manholes, carried a child from a stranded vehicle and guided others to move their motorcycles through the murky waters, the videos showed.

A rainfall log showed 465.5 mm (1.5 ft) of rain fell in Shenzhen over a 12-hour period, the highest since records began in 1952. Daily rainfall in the city located in the Pearl River Delta linking Hong Kong to China’s mainland was expected to exceed 500 mm, Shenzhen media said.

Typhoon Haikui made landfall in southeastern Fujian province on Tuesday and caused about $691 million in economic losses before moving westward to Guangdong on Thursday. It has been downgraded to a tropical depression.

Still, Shenzhen’s observatory has issued emergency warnings advising residents to stay indoors, warning downpours were abrupt and intense.

Some Shenzhen districts closed offices while all schools were suspended. Several subway stations halted operations.

Waters in Shenzhen reservoir reached their limit early on Friday, prompting authorities to begin discharging water and warning residents downstream in Futian and Luohu districts to keep away from rivers.

Authorities suspended services at Liantang Port and Wenjindu Port connecting Shenzhen and Hong Kong due to flood damage. Fresh food supplies, passengers and trucks were diverted to other ports.

About 130 km (81 miles) from Shenzhen, schools in 10 districts of Guangzhou city were suspended for the day or delayed their opening, while Zhuhai city warned of waterlogging in urban and rural areas, and potential landslides.

(Reporting by Liz Lee and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Neil Fullick)