Hong Kong canceled storm warnings and announced it would allow some schools to proceed as normal after midday, as the financial hub recovered from a fresh bout of torrential downpours.
(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong canceled storm warnings and announced it would allow some schools to proceed as normal after midday, as the financial hub recovered from a fresh bout of torrential downpours.
The local observatory issued its red rainstorm warning — the second-highest alert — early Thursday, after the city was battered with rain overnight. That warning was lowered to amber and then canceled by noon. Schooling that takes place after midday will now go ahead, while the suspension of whole-day schooling will remain, according to a government statement.
Some parts of the financial hub, including densely populated parts of eastern Hong Kong island and Kowloon, saw more than 150 mm (5.9 inches) of rain since midnight, according to the observatory. The government had received three cases of flooding as of 9 a.m., according to a post on the Drainage Services Department’s Facebook page. The situation had been alleviated, it added.
In the past two weeks, Hong Kong was pummeled by Super Typhoon Saola — the strongest storm to hit the city in five years — and record-breaking rain from the remnants of Typhoon Haikui, which flooded streets and triggered landslides.
Hong Kong’s Weather Is Getting Hotter, Wetter and Wilder
The topography of Hong Kong — roads and buildings built into steep hillsides — makes the city vulnerable to flooding and landslides from torrential summer rains that have steadily intensified over time due to climate change.
The current bad weather is caused by a trough of low pressure, according to the observatory, which forecast more rain on Friday and Saturday.
The sole road to Shek O and Big Wave Bay, an area on Hong Kong island’s southside that’s popular among billionaires and expats, was closed again on Thursday after previously being affected by landslides and subsidence.
The government, which faced criticism from the public over a lack of warning about the intensity of last week’s rain, has been working to repair roads and clean up the damage.
The city has received 919 mm of rain this month through Tuesday, almost three times the 321 mm mean for the whole of September, according to observatory data going back to 1991.
Other than schools closing, Hong Kong operates as normal under a red rainstorm warning, which means more than 50 mm of rain falling in an hour. Under the highest alert — a black rainstorm warning — workers are supposed to not travel and the stock market closes at least temporarily.
China’s National Meteorological Center issued its lowest rain alert and warned of heavy rain in central Jiangxi and northwestern Guangxi.
–With assistance from Olivia Tam and Jenni Marsh.
(Updates to add government announcement on signal changes and school arrangement in the first four paragraphs.)
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