• Mon
  • Sep 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:58pm
NewsHong Kong
EXTREME WEATHER

Giant hailstones batter Hong Kong as Observatory warns of heavy rain for days to come

Amber Rainstorm warning raised as people warned 'be alert'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2014, 9:22pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2014, 10:08pm

Hong Kong was today warned to brace for more bad weather after giant hailstones last night pounded parts of the city and the Black Rainstorm signal was issued for the second time since 2010.

At 8.40am this morning the Amber Rainstorm warning was issued, with more than 30 millimetres of rain falling in just an hour, disrupting rush hour and making journeys to work difficult. The signal was cancelled at 11.40am.

As of 11am, 200 flights had been delayed, 44 cancelled and one diverted, the Airport Authority said.

The Hospital Authority confirmed that there were seven people admitted to accident and emergency departments of public hospitals during the Black Rainstorm signal raised between 8.40pm and 10.30pm on Sunday night. Of the seven casualties, ranging in age from a one-year-old to a 64-year-old, six were in stable condition and one was in serious condition.

A spokesman could only confirm that the patient in serious condition was a 29-year-old male and was currently at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Wong Wai kin, acting senior scientific officer at the Observatory, said: “Because of a low pressure trough affecting the south east region of Guangdong, we are expecting the region to continue to be affected with this weather over the next couple of days.

“This morning we had an amber warning signal that was cancelled at 11.40am but the landslide and thunderstorm warnings are still in force

“The weather should settle this afternoon and tonight, with some localised rain affecting the eastern territories

“Over the next few days, heavier rain is expected to persist around the coastal region, including Hong Kong."

Last night hailstones the size of golfballs were reported in the New Territories and Kowloon as festivities to mark the end of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens were washed out.

Thunderstorms were accompanied by near constant flashes of lightning as the Observatory stated that more than 70 millimetres of rain had fallen in some parts in less than an hour.

The Observatory calculated that lightning had struck a total of 2,041 times in the from 9pm, including 482 hits on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

A torrent of water cascaded into Festival Walk shopping mall in Kowloon Tong caused by blocked pipes, leaving some shoppers up to their ankles in water. Initially the flood was believed to have been caused by hail smashing windows, but the theory was later dismissed.

One video (see below) appeared to show a huge piece of debris crash to the floor, narrowly missing a shopkeeper.

This morning the centre was open for business as usual, while some shops reported damaged stock.

A spokeswoman for Festival Walk's owner, Maple Tree Greater China Commercial Trust, said "exceptional rainfall" had caused flooding in certain parts of the mall.

In a statement to the Singapore Stock Exchange, the company said it had personnel on site to render assistance and was in the process of assessing the damage caused and making the necessary insurance claims. 

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Yesterday evening flooding was reported in areas including Cheung Chau, Tuen Mun, Mong Kok and Sheung Shui, while a landslide was reported in Sai Kung.

MTR stations at Kowloon Tong and Wong Tai Sin also reported flooding.

Paul Kwok, who was having dinner in Tseun Wan when the storm hit said: "It was like the end of the world out there for a while.

"Hail was raining down causing people to run for shelter. It stopped after about 10 minutes."

The Observatory said gusts of wind up to 100kmh had been recorded.

Two people were hospitalised with storm-related injuries, the Hospital Authority said. One was a truck driver hurt when a row of cargo containers toppled onto his lorry.

Sandy Song Man-kuen, a senior scientific officer at the Observatory, said the bad weather was due to a trough of low pressure that brought thunderstorms, hail and rain to coastal areas of Guangdong.

In southern China torrential rain has killed at least 16 people in the last week, bringing chaos to air and road travel.

Heavy rain will continue in Guangdong, Guangxi and parts of Taiwan until at least Wednesday, China’s National Meterological Centre said on Monday. Hailstorms could still occur in southern and central parts of Guangdong, it added.

Hong Kong's last Black Rainstorm warning was issued in May 2013, while the longest black storm on record raged for five hours and 47 minutes in August 1999.

The bad weather came a day after the first big storms of the year soaked crowds at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

Black clouds darkened the stadium before lunchtime Saturday, forcing organisers to switch on floodlights and leading to sodden conditions.

The Observatory said earlier this month that up to seven typhoons were expected to hit the city this year.

It added that as climate change progresses, Hong Kong would see more extreme weather in the future.

 

 

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This article is now closed to comments

cheungwill
News on TV says the water leakage is not due to "shattered windows" in the roof of the mall but because of rainwater drainage disrepair. Wish SCMP could be a be more reliable for accurate, update news....
meoii
I'm still hoping HK will snow one day~
buk1818
Sun spots cause this and all other weather
buk1818
I am glad I am back in hawaii with my Hong Kong wife
ling2777
Agreed such heavy rain is not never happened before but it is unusual to have it in March. I rather think the lesson to be drawn is for the building department to consider what strength the glass used at the top of the building would need or whether a contingency shelter should be in place to protect them in extreme weather condition. It is lucky that its failure in Festive Walk did not cause any casualty but we must prevent it from happening again.
pragmatist
"Shady" construction companies !
victsoi
Currently waiting for a snowstorm.
rsallen
Climate change is real and serious but it is foolish to attribute every weather event to it. This was not a particularly unusual event. There have been many instances of thunderstorms like this before. Climate is weather + time - a lot of time. You don't see climate change happening before your eyes - its a very slow and gradual process.
enoch.the.winner
man... nope... its all because of climate change... climate change (even +0.0001 / -0.0001 degrees) makes the monsoon MUCH stronger as the pressure difference among different regions strengthened in some ways due to temperature differences between land and ocean.... as hk is on the coastline, the effect will be so intense.
superdx
That's not exactly true that climate change is glacially slow, thus invisible. A 1C rise in temperature in the oceans is a lot of energy. Weather events like typhoons and hurricanes will now have more power when they form, and they will have much more staying power.
Whether you believe in climate change or not is irrelevant. Energy is energy. Our oceans are getting warmer. Caused by man, doesn't matter. What it does mean is that typhoons this year are going to be packing more of a punch. And we're going to see more strange weather patterns, especially at the extreme end of things.

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