Hong Kong weather

Third amber rainstorm signal cancelled after day of heavy rain and flooding in Hong Kong

Firefighters kept busy leading dozens to safety as hundreds of flights delayed, trees toppled and at least one vehicle washed away

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 8:47am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 July, 2017, 8:31am

Muddy water swept through ­villages in Tai Po leaving many trapped at home when heavy rain struck in the morning rush hour.

A parked seven-seater vehicle was also washed into a river off Shan Liu Road in Tai Po on Tuesday as water poured down from the Pat Sin Leng mountain range.

At 8.30am, the rain ­triggered an amber rainstorm warning, which was cancelled at 11.30am. The Observatory then issued a second amber warning at 4.20pm that was cancelled at 8pm. Barely three hours later, a third amber alert was issued at 10.45pm. This was cancelled at 1.20am the next day.

Among other districts ­battered in the downpour were Sai Kung and Sha Tin.

According to the Observatory, 89mm of rain was recorded in Tai Mei Tuk, Tai Po, between 7.45am and 8.45am.

The fire department received four calls for special services relating to flooding in the eastern part of Tai Po district before midday.

“Firefighters led 48 people from young to old to safety from affected villages such as Ting Kok and Tai Mei Tuk,” a Fire Services Department spokesman said, with no casualties reported.

At about 8.30am, a villager at Tai Mei Tuk called police saying he and his four family members were trapped in their house, which was under 60cm of water.

The area became flooded after drains were blocked, and ­firefighters were seen helping trapped residents.

Some had difficulty leaving their homes, and a video showed Sam Wo Road and a bicycle path under a meter of water, which nearly reached the door handles of parked vehicles.

One man, surnamed Lee, was busy clearing blocked drains with his bare hands because he feared his car would drift away. “I have not seen any flooding like this in the past decade,” he said.

A Drainage Services Department spokesman said Tai Mei Tuk was not prone to flooding and an investigation was being carried out.

In Sai Kung, four cars broke down after they were engulfed in a metre of water on Ho Chung Road at about 9am.

By 5pm, there were five flooding reports, two in Tai Po, two in Sai Kung and another in Ma On Shan. There were also 24 reports of toppled trees and eight of landslides.

The Airport Authority said by 6pm, more than 400 outgoing and incoming flights had been ­delayed. Two departing flights had also been cancelled.

The weather was blamed on an active southerly airstream, which brought showers and thunderstorms, Andy Lai Wang-chun at the Observatory said.

Showers would begin to ease on Wednesday with bright periods in the afternoon, he said. Sunny periods were forecast over the next couple of days.