'I can't remember when I hated the rain so much'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 July, 2008, 12:00am

Never-ending summer rain may have thwarted many people's outdoor activities, but for Kristy Lam, it's been a much greater inconvenience - she has had to leave home.

The ceiling of her bedroom has developed five leaks as persistent rain has found its way into her rented top-floor flat in Kwun Tong. She has been forced to temporarily vacate the 40-year-old tenement.

'I can't remember when I hated the rain so much,' she said. 'I can't possibly sleep with an orchestra of rain droplets hitting five buckets that goes on every night, all night.'

The Observatory recorded more than 1,346mm of rainfall last month - the most in a single month in 125 years, and it shows no signs of easing, with rain and thunderstorms expected until next Thursday at least.

The weather forecaster issued the amber rainstorm and landslip warnings yesterday as police received 43 reports of flooding, four of landslides and 59 of people trapped in lifts.

Ms Lam said persistent rain had made it impossible for her landlord to repair her flat. 'Workmen seized the chance during the brief sunny period last weekend to cement the crack but it started dripping again once the rain returned, as the paint applied to the new cement had not dried.'

Meanwhile, cleaners are kept busy mopping mall floors. Consumers packed malls and cinemas to stay out of the rain. Times Square advertising manager Vernon Ma Wai-lock said the mall saw a jump of more than 10 per cent in patronage last month from May. 'Not only have sales of umbrellas and raincoats gone up but sportswear also saw a boost,' he said. 'That's not just the effect of the Beijing Olympics but people are also looking forward to sports when the sun shines.'

Visits to beaches and swimming pools were down by nearly half last month on attendance in June last year. A total of 720,485 people went to public swimming pools last month, according to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department - down from the 1.18 million a year ago.

Scuba diving instructor Raymond Chan Min-kam said business had been slack. 'Normally, water temperatures are high enough in March for water sports but this year it was not until mid-April that it finally got warmer.'

An Ocean Park spokesman said the rain had no significant impact on attendance. It saw its second-best monthly turnout in June. Observatory scientific officer Lee Kun-lun said the heavy rain and cool weather had been brought by Severe Tropical Storm Fengshen and active southwesterlies over the South China coast.