HONG KONG – Heavy rain in Hong Kong and southern China overnight flooded city streets and some subway stations, with hundreds evacuated and two deaths reported in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong authorities said during a joint news conference Friday that the extreme weather was expected to last until at least midnight, with widespread flooding and heavy disruptions to public transport in multiple districts.
An official from the Hong Kong observatory said the city had recorded over 600mm of rain so far — a quarter of the city’s average annual rainfall. The Hong Kong Observatory said it recorded 158.1 millimeters (6.2 inches) of rain in the hour between 11 p.m. Thursday and midnight, the highest recording for a single hour since records began in 1884.
Hong Kong police said that two bodies were found floating in waters in different parts of the city. The city's fire services department said it had evacuated 110 people and assisted 20 injured people.
The city's response to the rain and floods has drawn criticism from residents online, who questioned the authorities' preparedness for such an emergency.
Hong Kong's No. 2 official, Eric Chan, said that the predictability of rainfall “cannot be compared with that of a typhoon.” He said that various departments in Hong Kong had been working overnight to tackle the situation.
Videos circulating on social media show flooded streets in Hong Kong and nearby Guangdong province, with vehicles driving through the water and rescue teams using rafts to navigate the streets.
Water rushed down the stairs and escalators of a flooded subway station in Hong Kong, and cars were caught in muddy water on flooded streets, including in the cross-harbor tunnel that connects Hong Kong Island with Kowloon.
The heavy downpours led Hong Kong and the mainland city of Shenzhen to close schools, and nonessential workers in Hong Kong were urged to stay home Friday. Most bus services in Hong Kong were halted.
The Hong Kong stock exchange also did not open Friday.
On the mainland, more than 11,000 people were evacuated from water-logged areas in Meizhou, a city in Guangdong province, according to state broadcaster CCTV. Trains and flights were suspended in Guangdong and several landslides blocked roads the report said.
Shenzhen's total rainfall was 469 millimeters (18.4 inches) — the heaviest rainfall since Shenzhen started meteorological records in 1952, CCTV said.
Beijing issued a flood disaster warning for several districts of the Chinese capital, forecasting heavy rainfall through Saturday night.
The city observatory attributed Friday’s rain to a trough of low pressure associated with the remnants of a recent typhoon.
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