Storms add to commuters' Monday blues
Weathermen warn of heavy rush-hour rainfall after roads and farmland flooded over weekend
Commuters were advised to be on the alert today as thunderstorms were expected to continue during the morning rush hour and many roads were already flooded from four days of rain. Parents of schoolchildren were advised to listen to radio and television announcements as normal school hours could be disrupted.
At 9.50pm the red rainstorm warning signal was in force, which indicates rainfall exceeding 50mm an hour.
The border areas of Sha Tau Kok and Sheung Shui took the brunt of the storms yesterday - by midnight rainfall was estimated to have reached 200mm and homes, roads and farmland were flooded.
By 9pm, there had been 13 reports of flooding in the New Territories and Kowloon, three reports of mudslides in North District and 10 reports of fallen trees across the territory, a government spokesman said. There were no reports of injuries.
At 7.55am yesterday, the Observatory issued an amber rainstorm signal - the lowest of the amber, red and black warning system, indicating rainfall of 30mm per hour.
After the weather eased around noon, the Observatory issued a second amber warning at 2.15pm, which was later upgraded to red.
In Yin Kong, in the Sheung Shui area, waters rose quickly. One farmer, Wong Chat-tai, said her vegetable fields were completely submerged. "I was just so shocked to see all the water," she added.
Wong said many of her neighbours were in a similar situation. She estimated that as many as 40 hectares of fields were underwater and the 10 farms in the district risked losing at least HK$1 million worth of crops.
She accused the government of dragging its feet on anti-flooding measures in the area. "People from home affairs, civil engineering, and drainage departments have come over to study flood prevention," she said. "But so far, nothing has been done."
In Shek Wu Wai village, near Mai Po, Yuen Long, villagers said their homes were knee-deep in water.
At Chek Lap Kok airport, 333 flights had been delayed by 9pm last night and 14 flights had been cancelled.
According to the Observatory, there will be squally thunderstorms and heavy rain throughout the early part of today. The wet weather will ease off later in the day.
The next couple of days will see a slight improvement, with a few showers and some sunny intervals.