Typhoon Merbok

Heavy rain pounds Hong Kong in aftermath of Merbok

No more typhoon signals, but city copes with air traffic disruption, flooding, and school closures

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2017, 10:30pm

Heavy rain pounded Hong Kong in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Merbok on Tuesday, disrupting air traffic, causing flooding and forcing the closure of kindergartens and special schools.

The Airport Authority said that by 5pm, 501 flights to and from the city were delayed or cancelled on Tuesday, bringing the total number of flights disrupted by the storm over two days to more than 860.

Ten people sought medical treatment in public hospital for typhoon-related injuries, and 239 people sought refuge at the city’s 22 government shelters in almost 12 hours when the No 8 typhoon signal was in force between Monday afternoon and early Tuesday morning. The Hospital Authority said the three men and seven women, aged 43 to 71, had suffered minor injuries.

While most Hongkongers took shelter indoors as the No 8 typhoon signal was in force, a group of smugglers braved the bad weather in a bid to bring electronic products into the mainland by sea at about 11pm Monday.

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Their attempt was foiled by marine police, who confiscated more than HK$1.4 million worth of smartphones and tables at a Sha Tau Kok pier. Five suspected smugglers managed to escape.

As Merbok left Hong Kong and made landfall in Guangdong province on Tuesday morning, all typhoon signals were cancelled at 11.10am.

But heavy rain from the storm led the Observatory to issue an amber rainstorm signal at 2.50am Tuesday. This was changed to red at 8.45am. All the signals were lowered at 12.30pm.

Between the red rainstorm signal being raised at 8.45am and 5pm Tuesday, there were 75 reports of fallen trees, 19 reports of floods and two reports of landslides.

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At about 11am, a family of five including a child had to be led to safety by firefighters after knee-deep floodwater trapped them in their village house off Tin Ha Road, Yuen Long, according to police. No one was injured in the incident.

The Fire Services Department deployed eight fire engines and two ambulances after a landslide at Chai Wan-bound Tai Tam Road was reported at 9.48am. A spokeswoman said rubble covered an area measuring 7 metres by 7 meters. “Firemen from the urban search and rescue team equipped with life detectors searched the scene,” she said, adding that no casualties were reported.

The Transport Department said the landslide led to the closure of both lanes of Tai Tam Road near Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir Dam.

Local weather was expected on Wednesday to be mainly cloudy with a few showers. The Observatory said there would be isolated thunderstorms on Wednesday morning and sunny intervals in the afternoon.