Where's the beach? Days of torrential rain wash away Hong Kong sands

Trees struck down and chunk of shoreline may have been washed away by rains as grim weather continues

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 12:29pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 2:24pm

The bad weather that has plagued the city for the last week continued unabated today, as evidence of the recent storms’ ferocity could be seen at a number of the city’s beaches.

Despite forecasts saying the weather would clear up, commuters were today faced with squally weather, marked by spells of rain and cloudy skies. The Hong Kong Observatory said rainfall in Tseung Kwan O and Sai Kung even exceeded 80mm.

The government meteorological authority this morning hoisted a thunderstorm warning, which remained in force until noon. There were more than 300 lightning strikes between 9pm yesterday and 10am today, mostly concentrated in the New Territories.

The torrential downpour in recent days has wreaked havoc on coastlines.

At Shek O a large slice of beach was washed away in its entirety by floodwaters pouring into the sea.

And on Lamma Island trees were left with roots exposed and a picnic area was ruined as torrential rain washed sand right off Hung Shing Yeh beach. 

The black rainstorm battered the city last Thursday, flooding farmlands and roads, and bringing traffic in some parts of the city such as Causeway Bay to a standstill. The warning signal was the highest on the amber-red-black warning scale.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled at Chep Lap Kok airport and scores others were delayed in recent days.

A trough of low pressure had brought the thunderstorms to southern China and the northern part of the South China Sea, the Observatory has said.

Heavy rains continued from Friday and all through the weekend, with the signal alternately changing from red to amber. Landslides were reported in Sha Tin and Happy Valley and ankle-deep flooding was reported in parts of the territory.

Neighbouring Shenzhen experienced the heaviest rains in six years on Sunday, which brought severe floods and paralysed transport services. Authorities said the rains caused about 80 million yuan (HK$100 million) in damage.

The high-speed railway service that links Guangzhou and Shenzhen was also suspended and at least 197 flights at Shenzhen's airport were cancelled in response to the deluge.

Back in Hong Kong, residents were alarmed to find a large python, said to have been washed down the hillsides by the storm, on a promenade in Quarry Bay. The Burmese python, non-venomous but with a powerful grip, bit a handler in the leg as it was being taken away to a wildlife sanctuary.

However, a glimmer of calmer weather may be in sight. The Observatory forecast less tempestuous weather in the next few days, saying there would be “a few showers and sunny intervals” from tomorrow to next Wednesday.

Its nine-day forecast indicated that slices of sunshine will be most marked at the weekend.