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Record-Breaking Rainfall Hits Hong Kong and Shenzhen: Massive Flooding and Infrastructure Damage Reported

Starting in the evening of September 7th, Hong Kong experienced heavy rainfall. The Hong Kong Observatory reported that between 11:00 am and 12 midnight on September 7th, the highest hourly rainfall of 158.1 millimeters was recorded, the highest since records began in 1884. The Tai Po, North District to Lo Wu Pass area saw over 400 millimeters of cumulative rainfall in the last 24 hours, with most of the rain occurring on the night of the 7th. Nearby Shenzhen, Guangdong Province in China also experienced heavy rain, with some areas recording over 300 millimeters of rainfall within six hours. The heavy rain was a result of Typhoon Haikui, which had previously hit Taiwan and then made its way to Guangdong, bringing abundant moisture from the southwest monsoon, resulting in super-heavy rainfall. The rain bands from the typhoon caused significant flooding in the Pearl Estuary area on the evening of the 7th. The heavy rain led to the Hong Kong Observatory issuing red and black rainstorm warnings, as well as a landslide warning. Many areas in Hong Kong, particularly in the New Territories and the eastern area of Hong Kong Island, were flooded. Roads in Wong Tai Sin District were severely flooded, causing disruptions to transportation services. In Tai Po, the Lam Tsuen River overflowed, flooding nearby areas and requiring rescue operations. On Hong Kong Island, sloping roads in Chai Wan became rapids, leading to dangerous conditions for pedestrians. The government of Hong Kong issued press releases urging employers to make work arrangements for employees during the heavy rain, and subsequently declared the suspension of classes and non-stop work. The MTR and bus companies also suspended their services. Concerns were raised regarding a flood discharge from the Shenzhen Reservoir, which could potentially cause flooding in the New Territories. The Shenzhen Reservoir released flood water, and emergency notices were issued warning residents to stay away from river areas. Heavy rain also hit Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, causing flooding and power outages. The duration of the flood discharge from the reservoir depended on subsequent rainfall and was expected to last for around ten hours. Other areas in eastern Guangdong Province, such as Dongguan, also experienced heavy rainfall and flooding. Specific losses due to the heavy rain and floods have not yet been reported.

Beginning in the evening of 7 September, heavy rain fell across Hong Kong. The weather report released by the Hong Kong Observatory at 1:15 am on the 8th stated that the Observatory headquarters recorded an hourly rainfall of 158.1 millimeters between 11:00 am and 12 midnight on the 7th, the highest since records beginning in 1884. According to the Hong Kong Observatory rainfall data, the cumulative rainfall in the last 24 hours has been more than 400 millimeters in the area from Tai Po, North District to Lo Wu Pass. Most of them should be the rain that started to accumulate on the night of the 7th.

Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China, which is adjacent to Hong Kong, was also hit by heavy rain. According to the monitoring data of the local automatic weather station, the rainfall in many places in Luohu District exceeded 300 millimeters of within six hours. Among them, Dongmen Street Automatic Station recorded more than 340 mm, and the 24-hour cumulative rainfall was more than 450 mm. According to the news on social networks, a large number of areas in Luohu District were flooded or even without water and electricity.

The heavy rain was caused by the aftermath of Typhoon Haikui, which hit Taiwan last week. After leaving Taiwan, “Sea Anemone” made landfall in Fujian again and then became a depression into Guangdong. However, its “water absorption” ability is still strong, and it also receives abundant moisture from the southwest monsoon, causing a “train effect” of convective clouds and bringing super-heavy rainfall.

The associated rain bands of “Sea Anemone” greatly affected the Pearl Estuary area on the evening of the 7th. The Hong Kong Observatory sent a red rainstorm warning from a yellow rainstorm within 1 hour and 40 minutes, and then issued a black rainstorm warning signal at 11:05, and issued a landslide warning and a special flood report in the northern New Territories of’ the front. and after.

Many places in Hong Kong were flooded under the heavy rain, especially the northern area in the New Territories and the eastern area on Hong Kong Island. The road surface in Wong Tai Sin District was severely flooded, half the body of the car was flooded; the rainwater poured into the MTR station through the stairs, the concourse was shaped like a waterfall, and there was also water on the platform, which caused Wong Tai Sin Station to close early The Kwun Tong Line runs between Kwun Tong and Whampoa The train stopped service early. In addition, some entrances and exits of Hong Kong Station, Nanchang Station, Chai Wan Station and Sheung Shui Station were closed due to flooding; road flooding and heavy rains also prevented some citizens from going home through the night, stuck in shopping malls, MTR stations. and even pedestrian bridges.

On September 8, 2023, the heaviest rainstorm since records began, and a temple in Rainbow was half flooded. Photo: Ryan Lai/Duan Media

In Tai Po, New Territories, the Lam Tsuen River was severely flooded, and the water level was close to the footpath; many villages in Sha Tau Kok were flooded, and the water was chest deep. Firefighters came to the scene to rescue. On Hong Kong Island, many sloping roads in Chai Wan turned into rapids, and some citizens fell on the road and were washed tens of meters away. There were many dead vehicles on the street in the area, and some car parks were flooded close to the roof; Some construction elevators failed to operate due to the water. The Hong Kong Island entrance to the Hung Hom Cross Harbor Tunnel was also flooded, and vehicles crossing the sea were wading through the water.

The Department of Labor of the Hong Kong Government issued a press release at 9:56 pm on the 7th, reminding employers to identify work arrangements for workers under heavy rain as soon as possible. At 2:30 am on the 8th, the government issued a press release stating that it will announce whether work or classes must be suspended before 6:00 am Chief Executive Lee Ka-chau said he was very concerned about the a situation of serious flooding and that he has instructed all departments to respond with all efforts. As of 1 am on the 8th, the Drainage Services Department had received 12 cases of flooding. In addition, the MTR said it will carry out cleaning and repair work where practicable, and inform the train service arrangement before the first train.

At 4 o’clock in the morning, after suspending late night and all night services, the two major bus companies KMB, Citybus and Long Win Bus all announced that they would suspend daytime bus services until the heard differently. of its routes during the day providing a Limited service. The tram company announced that service would be suspended at 5 am At 5:37, the Hong Kong government announced the suspension of classes and non-stop work today, and called on employers to adopt flexible working arrangements. The MTR announced at 5:40 to stop the service between Shek Kip Mei and Hung Choi Station on the Kwun Tong Line.

At 11:44 am on the 7th, the Hong Kong government announced that it had received notification from the Shenzhen authorities that the Shenzhen Reservoir would release flood water at 0:00 am on the 8th, and that the New Territories could be flooded. The public is concerned as to whether the 16 minute notice before the flood discharge is appropriate. Theoretically, the flood discharge from the Shenzhen Reservoir will first pass through the river channel in Luohu District, Shenzhen, and then enter the Shenzhen River to discharge into the Deep Bay. However, the Shenzhen River connects the Indus River, the Pingyuan River and their tributaries in Hong Kong’s Northern District, which will bring flooding to the Northern District.

On September 8, 2023, the heaviest rainstorm occurred since records began. Some citizens were wading through the water, and fences, trash cans and other debris were floating on the water. Photo: Ryan Lai/Duan Media

At first, the flood discharge flow of the Shenzhen Reservoir was 70-80 cubic meters per second, but at 3:15 in the morning, the Three Shenzhen Defense Command Office issued an emergency notice, stating that due to “the water level of the Shenzhen Reservoir has exceeded the flood limit water level”, which is 3:00 At 15 minutes, the flood release flow was increased to 120 cubic meters per second, and “Futian District and Luohu District arranged relevant personnel to stay away from the river area.”

Shenzhen’s previous local forecast did not mention the possibility of heavy rain. The “Shenzhen News Network” under the “Shenzhen Business Daily” released a forecast on the night of the 6th, saying that “the rainfall is expected to increase from the night of the 6th to the 7th, and the overall rain will be relatively light , but the rain will last a long time.” However, at 15:00 on the 7th, there was heavy rain in Longgang, Yantian, Luohu and other areas of Shenzhen. The accumulated rainfall in the Yantian area reached 235 mm within 3 hours, and some areas experienced flooding. At 22:00 that night, the Shenzhen Meteorological Observatory issued a red storm warning and announced that the city had entered a state of emergency protection against rain storms.

The reporter browsed the microblogs of some residents of Luohu District, Shenzhen, and found that some residents in Luohu District posted a message after 2:00 about the power or even water in the area being cut off. The official Weibo account “Dawan District News” said that some residents of Luohu needed to be moved to temporary shelters. The Buji River, a tributary of the Shenzhen River that runs through the center of Luohu District, also swelled beyond its embankments. Weibo user “J_F_o_n_g” said the nearby “People’s Park” was flooded.

At the time of writing this article, the official has not yet reported the specific losses of the heavy rains and floods. An emergency management official interviewed by the Shenzhen TV program “First Live” said that the duration of the flood release from the reservoir depends on the subsequent rainfall and can last about ten hours.

In addition to Hong Kong and Shenzhen, the aftermath of Typhoon Haikui has caused heavy rain in many places in eastern Guangdong Province. According to reports, flooding has occurred in Fenggang Town, Dongguan. Nanfang.com, a subsidiary of Nanfang Daily, reported that the cumulative rainfall in Jieyang, Shanwei, Meizhou, Chaozhou and other places reached more than 300 millimeters from September 5 to 12:00 on September 7, and storm warning signals were issued red rain in many places. The China Weather Network, a subsidiary of the China Meteorological Observatory, reported that heavy rains caused waterlogging in Shanwei City, Huilai Huicheng and other places; The Xinxihe Reservoir in Jiedong District has decided to release flood water on September 8 to lower the water level.

It is worth noting that there are not many reports on rainfall in eastern Guangdong in the media, and there are few related discussions on social platforms such as Weibo. A previous article from the Shenzhen Comprehensive Development Research Institute mentioned that eastern Guangdong is an underdeveloped area with relatively backward infrastructure construction.

Previously, sea anemones had caused torrential rain and torrential rain in south-central Fujian and Ningde, and flooding in downtown Fuzhou, affecting 1,591,600 people in Fujian and forcing 294,100 residents to relocate.

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