Hiking trails closed as amber storm warning hoisted

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 4:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 11:58pm

Eight hiking trails were closed off today over landslides and fallen trees during the torrent in recent weeks, as an amber-level rainstorm lashed Hong Kong.

The warning was declared at 3.30pm as rains lashed the city, with the Hong Kong Observatory warning of possible flash floods.

Already, rainfall exceeding 40mm has been recorded in Tuen Mun, Central and parts of Kowloon over the past hour. The latest warning is the lowest in the black-red-amber scale.

But the gloomy weather comes just days after Hong Kong emerged from a nearly week-long spell of fierce storms and severe flooding, starting with a black storm signal issued last Thursday.

The landslips prompted the Agriculture and Fisheries and Conservation Department to shut “until further notice” the trails in Tai Tam on Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, as well as Sai Kung, Shing Mun and Pat Sin Leng in the New Territories.

"We closed it down because of the black rainstorm and rains in recent weeks. We decided to announce it today all in one go," said Dana Wong, an information officer from the department, without giving further details about the severity of the damage.

They include the popular MacLehose Trail’s section 2 and the Tai Long Wan Hiking Trail, as well as the Tsz Lo Lan Shan Path, Fun Lau Country Trail, Cheung Sheung Country Trail, Shing Mun Forest Track Lead Mine Pass Section, Wilson Trail Section 7 and Wang Tsat Ancient Trail.

“The [department] is arranging clean-up and repair works for the areas affected,” a spokesman said in a statement, adding that notices and reminders have been posted to warn hikers.

The downpour may be due to “a southwesterly airstream [that] is bringing unsettled weather” to neighbouring Guangdong. The observatory said the squally thunderstorms could continue overnight, and showers are expected in the next couple of days.

However, sunnier weather is expected at the weekend, marked by “mainly fine and hot” conditions, according to the observatory’s forecast this week.