Shanghai paralysed by rush-hour rainstorm

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 September, 2013, 3:17am

Shanghai's public transport was running as normal yesterday, after one of the most severe storms in recent memory paralysed the city during Friday's evening rush hour.

Several subway lines were suspended and major roads were closed as soaking rain and strong winds slammed the city. At 2pm, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau issued a rare red rainstorm alert, its highest official warning.

The Pudong New Area saw the heaviest rainfall, receiving 137mm by 4.50pm.

"It was a mess. A commute that would have taken me 15 minutes took over two hours," said Yue Li, a secretary who works in Pudong.

"I was stuck in the crowds at the subway station when service was suspended and when I tried to take a taxi, it got caught in heavy flooding and had to move really slowly through a massive traffic jam."

Another Shanghai resident said: "The business districts looked like they were in chaos in the early evening, but the storm lifted later in the evening. Everything's back to normal today."

City officials had anticipated the storm and sent emergency response teams to direct traffic and divert flooding, according to local media reports.

Many residents were caught off guard, however, with photographs on social media showing pedestrians with plastic bags tied to their feet wading along flooded footpaths.

No injuries related to the storm have been reported and there were few reported delays at the city's two airports, Hongqiao and Pudong.