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Hong Kong ‘black rainstorm’ warning sees classes, vaccinations and trading suspended

Rainstorm led to severe flooding, landslides and a bus accident in Hong Kong

Shweta Sharma
Monday 28 June 2021 08:41 BST
South Lantau Road floods after a black rainstorm warning in Hong Kong, China
South Lantau Road floods after a black rainstorm warning in Hong Kong, China (via REUTERS)

One person was killed in a road accident, flights were delayed, and schools, court hearings and vaccination drives were briefly suspended after the Hong Kong weather department issued the year’s first “black rainstorm” warning alert on Monday.

The pounding rain led to a fatal accident in the Sheung Shui town in the north district of Hong Kong, killing the driver of a bus. The driver lost control of the vehicle and slammed it into the tree as the roads were slippery following rainfall, police said. No passenger was on board during the accident.

Heavy torrential rains lashed parts of Hong Kong, triggering landslides in many places which led to traffic and suspension of activities.

Hong Kong Stock Exchange announced it will halt its trading for the morning session on Monday until the highest "black rainstorm" weather warning is cancelled.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) said in a statement that all its major products and derivatives markets (including Stock Connect trading) will resume trading in the afternoon after the warning alert was downgraded.

“Trading will begin on the first half hour at least two hours after the cancellation of the Black Rainstorm Warning,” HKEX said.

A black rainstorm warning is the highest alert of three levels of rainstorm warnings in Hong Kong after red and amber.

The Hong Kong observatory issued the warning after more than 70 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in many places, and rainfall exceeded 150 millimetres in several districts of Hong Kong.

Visuals showed thick muddy water gushing out of hillside onto South Lantau Road near Upper Cheung Sha Beach and flooding the roads following a landslide. Traffic was blocked for hours before the water spurt stopped. The excess rain also led to water seeping into houses and offices.

The black rainstorm, which remained in effect for less than three hours, was downgraded to a lower level of warning of red at 11.05am before being replaced with the lowest level of amber. At 12:30pm the amber warning was also cancelled, reported public broadcasting service, Radio Television Hong Kong.

The HKEX said in case the black rainstorm warning persists till 12 noon, all the trading sessions would be suspended for the day.

But following the updated forecast trading will resume at 1:30pm local time.

More than 200 millimetres of rain lashed on parts of Lantau Island, Lamma Island and the western part of Hong Kong while other areas received at least 70 millimetres of rainfall.

Two people walk past an overflowing manhole during a rainstorm in Hong Kong (EPA)

According to South China Morning Post, a landslide was reported in Hong Kong’s largest Lantau Island at 8am on Monday, blocking traffic. Four other landslides were reported in Cheung Chau Island.

The harsh weather conditions also led to the delay in flights with Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her delegation’s flight delayed by an hour while they were en route to Beijing to attend the Communist Party’s 100th-anniversary celebrations.

Schools were closed for the day but authorities asked school administrations to keep their premises open and implement contingency measures for exceptions if any school children turn up.

The vaccination centres remained opened but suspended administering Covid -19 jabs to the people during the rainstorm warning.

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