Hikers trapped, roads flooded in Hong Kong as black rainstorm warning looms
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The Hong Kong Observatory warned of a black rainstorm in the coming hours if intense thundery showers continued to approach the city on Saturday, while flooding left hikers trapped, as well as disrupting traffic and footpaths in the New Territories.

The forecaster said an area of intense thundery showers currently over the Pearl River Estuary was gradually moving eastward and could force the city to upgrade the red rainstorm signal currently in effect.

A black rainstorm warning means very heavy rain has fallen or is expected to fall generally over Hong Kong, exceeding 70mm in an hour, and is likely to continue.

The city last issued a black rainstorm warning on October 9, 2023, with the signal only dropping six and a half hours later.

At one point on Saturday, the Transport Department was forced to close seven roads in Sai Kung district and part of the Tseung Kwan O – Lam Tin Tunnel.

Routes still affected in the district are Ying Yip Road, Po Hong Road, Hang Hau Wing Lung Road and Tai Au Mun Road.

Authorities managed to reopen the previously closed Ngau Chi Wan-bound Clear Water Bay Road near Hiram’s Highway, Tai Mong Tsai Road near Tso Wo Hang and Clear Water Bay Road near Tai Po Tsai.

Some KMB bus routes, including 91, 91M and 289R, have been suspended.

In the same district, hundreds of private vehicles were left submerged in water after a large public car park near Lohas Park became flooded.

Some motorists at the scene were forced to hire tow trucks to retrieve their vehicles as the waters had prevented them from getting to their cars.

Students from the Hong Kong Science and Technology University wrote on social media in the morning that they were having trouble getting to campus as some trunk roads were closed.

Hundreds of private vehicles were left submerged in water after a large public car park near Lohas Park became flooded. Photo: Facebook/Bosco Chu

Flooding also hit restaurants and stores at some shopping malls in Tseung Kwan O, with the water reaching several of the venues’ connecting bridges and causing some outlets to close temporarily.

Department store AEON at TKO Plaza put out a notice saying: “Due to rainy weather, our department store section will be closed until further notice. The supermarket will remain open for business”.

AEON at TKO Plaza was forced to close its department store section amid the torrential rainfall. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

Police said 15 hikers had been trapped along trails in Sai Kung amid the current rainstorm.

Officers located four of the hikers on section two of the MacLehose Trail after heavy rain forced the group to call off their trek at 11.25am. None of them sustained any injuries.

Another hiking group of four adults and seven children, aged 8 to 11, also reported becoming trapped along the High Island Reservoir East Dam at 11.26am. The trekkers were forced to shelter in a public toilet until police arrived.

The group came out of the incident unscathed.

Over in Hang Hau’s Fat Tau Chau Village, residents were seen using towels to prevent floodwater mixed with mud and sand from washing into their homes.

A temple in the area was also flooded by the torrential rain, with dozens of koi fish kept in the site’s well for feng shui purposes washing away despite villagers’ efforts to save them.

Police and firefighters also received more than 20 reports of flooding on Saturday, while the Drainage Services Department deployed over 70 emergency response teams to flooded locations.

The Observatory issued the first red rainstorm warning of the year at 8.55am, upgrading an amber signal sent out at 7.40am as Tseung Kwan O and Clear Water Bay in Sai Kung district recorded more than 140mm of rainfall in the interval.

A resident cleans up a flooded temple in Hang Hau amid heavy rainfall. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

“Under the influence of an upper air disturbance, thundery showers continue to develop over the territory … It is expected that severe rainstorms will continue to affect some areas in the eastern part of the territory,” the Observatory said.

“Members of the public should stay on high alert.”

A thunderstorm warning issued at 5am was also extended until 5.30pm.

The Observatory previously issued an amber rainstorm warning on Tuesday evening amid a spate of unstable weather.


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