• Fri
  • Aug 29, 2014
  • Updated: 5:19pm
NewsHong Kong
WEATHER

Black rainstorm a 'wake-up call on global warming' meteorologist warns Hongkongers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2014, 4:03am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 April, 2014, 9:41pm

The hail and rain on Sunday was a wake-up call for Hongkongers about the fast-changing climate that could disrupt lives and businesses within moments, a veteran meteorologist says.

Watch: Giant hailstones batter Hong Kong

The warning by Leung Wing-mo came as the drainage department chief said the city's drains could be close to their limit for handling downpours, and as rainstorms continued to batter Hong Kong and the region.

Leung, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Meteorological Society, said extreme weather could become routine if global warming accelerated.

"The bad weather might have yet to expose our systemic weaknesses, but it is definitely a wake- up call for all of us that there will be more to come and it can come very quickly," the former assistant director of the Observatory said. "Hailstorms may become more frequent and less sporadic. Look at this one and you find it hit almost everywhere in the city. This was never seen before."

He was speaking as renewed wild weather sent a container toppling from atop a stack into a car park in Tsing Yi, damaging several vehicles.

Director of Drainage Services Daniel Chung Kum-wah said a rainstorm of last night's ferocity occurred only once in 200 years. It had triggered 29 flood reports, of which three were severe, including the one in Festival Walk where water poured into the up-market Kowloon Tong mall. The other two were in Tsuen Wan and Wong Tai Sin.

Chung said the drainage system had the capacity to handle rains of 130 millimetres an hour - the kind of storm that occurred once every 50 years. However, he said in a radio interview: "Rain fell at over 150 millimetres an hour; that happens once in 200 years."

Observatory senior scientific officer Sandy Song Man-kuen said the hailstones on Sunday night were up to 3cm in size, while some as large as 10cm had been reported in 1981.

"It's difficult to relate one hail incident to global climate change but you can see the trend - the air is warmer and holds more moisture, so there is either no rain or extremely heavy rain," she said.

Edwin Lau Che-feng, Friends of the Earth's head of advocacy, said the whole city, not just the government, should review if it was ready for such weather. "What are our contingency measures? Are they effective enough? There is no guarantee we will be so lucky next time," he said.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

mercedes2233
(Reuters) - A winter storm that froze the U.S. southeast in its tracks pushed north on Thursday, with driving winds and heavy snow snarling travel and closing many schools from Washington to Connecticut, creating havoc for winter-weary parents.
More than 700,000 people, including residents of Georgia and South Carolina hit by a heavy blast of ice a day earlier, were without power as the storm made its way up the coast, closing much of Washington and threatening to drop up to 18 inches of snow in some areas."
Plus similar reports from other parts of the US, Canada and Europe, for both 2013 and 2014.
And just heavy rainfall plus HAIL in HK is evidence of global 'warming'? There seems to be a lack of perspective here.
mercedes2233
Hong Kong had very heavy rain and hail on Sunday, and our 'veteran meteorologist' promptly warns us of 'global warming'. I find that HK had deadly typhoons during its recent history, as follows:
Unnamed typhoon in 1937 (around 11,000 dead 88 injured)
Unnamed typhoon in 1906 (around 3,000 dead 220 injured)
Unnamed typhoon in 1874 (over 2,000 dead)
Unnamed typhoon in 1908 (over 500 dead 14 injured)
Unnamed typhoon in 1900 (over 200 dead)
Typhoon Wanda in 1962 (183 dead 388 injured)
Typhoon Rose in 1971 (110 dead 286 injured)
Unnamed typhoon in 1923 (around 100 dead)
Squall in 1907 (87 dead)
Typhoon Mary in 1960 (45 dead 127 injured)
Typhoon Ruby in 1964 (38 dead 300 injured)
This is exclusive of weather problems in other parts of the world. Were these typhoons due to 'global warming' as well, or were they just normal weather patterns?
Asynsis
On the Daily Mail's website, climate breakdown was scarcely a footnote to the real issues of the day: "Kim Kardashian looks more confident than ever as she shows off her toned curves".
So, after the IPCC report, which bit of the world are you prepared to lose? | George Monbiot ****t.co/2S47d6Q8Ml via @guardian (type aitch tee tee pee colon fwd slash fwd slash instead of the asterisks) ****www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/31/ipcc-report-world-lose-habitats-climate-change
dienw
What did they blame "extreme weather" on in previous years (going back forever) when it happened? God's wrath? Plus ca change.....
x_WISERS_FOE@earth_1
Refusing to connect a single weather event to climate change and denying climate change altogether are completely different things.
.
I seriously hope someone will tell me that the comments I'm seeing here are just part of a bad April's Fool joke.
mercedes2233
I don't believe in either scenario. Even without the so-called 'climate change', weather events can still happen.
menahem
There is no such thing as global warning, Green political parties and others have a political agenda to make you trust about this scam and PAY more Taxes under the " its for the earth protection " .
Radiation from the sun is much stronger than any human activity .
Just read other sources of info , stop reading newspapers who spread FEAR among people.
Nothing spectacular from sunday storm ,just the weather .
mercedes2233
All vegetation gives out carbon dioxide at night, and the seas do too, by which comparison the activities of humans don't compare. So are we going to control the forests and the seas too?
Yes, and the earth's temperature has NOT risen, hence the climate change people are now talking of 'climate change' rather than 'global warming'. Incidentally, remember the ice storms over the northern hemisphere during the last two winters? Are we 'changing' towards the Ice Age again?
johndoe
First it was global warming and everyone had to pay carbon tax. Then the planet started to cool and it was called climate change. These model never work. Global warming and climate change are scams. There are many other more serious and real environmental issues, such as depletion of fisheries, nuclear waste, acidic rain, smog that are actual things and not imaginary problems in a fake computer model.
lui.thw@gmail.com
You have that view because you are misunderstanding between average temperature variation and average temperature itself.

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