Unprecedented Rainfall Triggers Widespread Flooding in Hong Kong and Southern China
Hong Kong and several cities in southern China are currently battling a devastating crisis brought about by record-breaking rainfall. This extraordinary weather event has caused extensive flooding and disruptions throughout the region.Flooding in Hong Kong
Record Rainfall Unleashed:
The downpour, which commenced on Thursday, has been described by the weather bureau as the most substantial and sustained rain in nearly 140 years. This unrelenting deluge has submerged streets and subway stations in Hong Kong, prompting authorities to take swift action, including the closure of schools and workplaces.
Rescue Operations Amid Chaos:
As floodwaters rose, authorities conducted multiple rescue operations to save residents trapped by the rising torrents. Heart-wrenching images circulating on social media depict locals wading through inundated streets, highlighting the severity of the situation.
Health Impacts and Hospitalizations:
The relentless rain has taken a heavy toll on public health. Hong Kong authorities reported that, in the span of just 24 hours, at least 83 individuals were hospitalized due to weather-related incidents. These cases include injuries sustained during rescue efforts and illnesses exacerbated by the harsh conditions.
Landslides and Road Blockages:
In addition to the widespread flooding, the heavy rainfall triggered landslides in some areas, complicating the region’s challenges. Roads have been blocked, severely hampering transportation and adding to the overall disruption caused by this extreme weather event.
Unprecedented Rainfall Records:
Weather authorities issued a “black” rainstorm signal on Thursday night, indicative of rainfall exceeding a staggering 70mm per hour. The Hong Kong Observatory later reported an hourly rainfall of 158.1 millimeters, the highest on record since records began in 1884.
Southern China Affected:
Southern China, including the city of Shenzhen across the border from Hong Kong, has also faced torrential downpours. Shenzhen reported its most substantial rainfall since records began in 1952. This has led to the suspension of hundreds of flights in the wider Guangdong province, while local authorities have warned of flash floods and recommended evacuations for residents in low-lying areas.
A Dense Coastal Population at Risk:
Southern China is home to tens of millions of people residing in densely populated coastal areas, making them particularly vulnerable to the effects of this extreme weather.
Critical infrastructure, such as Hong Kong’s cross-harbour tunnel connecting the main island to the Kowloon peninsula, was also inundated, exacerbating transportation challenges.
Continued Weather Woes Predicted:
China’s meteorological administration anticipates that extreme rainfall will persist in the southwestern region of the country on Friday and Saturday. This follows closely after two recent typhoons, Saola and Haikui, struck southern China in quick succession, leading to a citywide shutdown in Hong Kong.
Climate Change’s Impact:
The intensification and increased frequency of tropical storms attributed to climate change have resulted in more frequent flash flooding
and greater damage, amplifying the urgency of addressing climate-related challenges in the region.