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Intense rainfall drenches Hong Kong, causes widespread flooding

Torrential rain deluged Hong Kong on Friday leading to widespread flooding across the densely packed city, submerging streets, shopping malls and metro stations, as authorities shut schools and asked workers to stay at home.

The Chinese special administrative region saw the highest hourly rainfall since records began 140 years ago. Cascades of water tumbled down the city’s mountainous terrain as authorities issued landslide risk warnings.

Videos circulating on social media showed streets turned into torrents, while one clip showed metro workers wading waist deep in a station as they tried to stem the water flow gushing down from road level.

A view of a Hong Kong parking lot that flooded during the heavy rain. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

The city’s cross-harbour tunnel, one of main arteries connecting Hong Kong island to Kowloon, was also inundated with water, while photos showed a waterlogged shopping centre in the Chai Wan district.

Hong Kong Observatory reported rainfall of 158.1 millimetres between 11 p.m. HKT on Thursday and midnight on Friday.

A man walks past landslide-strewn debris in Hong Kong on Friday, following heavy rains that caused widespread flooding.
A man walks past the debris of a landside amid the rain on Friday. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

The weather bureau issued the highest “black” rainstorm warning and said more than 200 mm of rainfall was recorded on Hong Kong’s main island, Kowloon and the northeastern part of the city’s New Territories since Thursday night.

The trough of low pressure associated with the remnant of Typhoon Haikui has brought torrential rain to the coast of Guangdong since Thursday, the weather bureau said. Extreme conditions are expected to last until at least noon on Friday.

A pedestrian walks along a stretch of flooded roadway in Hong Kong.
A pedestrian walks through a stretch of flooded highway in Hong Kong on Friday. (Louise Delmotte/The Associated Press)

Hong Kong’s stock exchange will not open on Friday morning if the black rainstorm warning is still in place at 9 a.m. local time, the exchange said.

City leader John Lee said he was very concerned about the severe flooding in most parts of the territory and had instructed all departments to respond with “all-out efforts.”

Workers assist a driver who became stranded amid flooding caused by intense rainfall in Hong Kong.
Workers assist a driver on Friday who became stranded as heavy rains fell and flooding occurred in Hong Kong. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Some passenger and cargo clearance points at two border control points between Hong Kong and neighbouring city Shenzhen were suspended due to flooding, the government said.

A portion of a flooded shopping mall is seen in Hong Kong.
A flooded shopping mall is seen on Friday. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

In the city’s Wong Tai Sin district, vehicles were submerged in water as they tried to drive down a main road.

Hong Kong’s MTR Corp, which operates the city’s rail network, said at least one line was shut while others were operating at delayed intervals.

A man carrying an umbrella wades through a flooded area in Hong Kong.
A man carrying an umbrella wades through a flooded area in Hong Kong on Friday. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

All schools have been suspended on Friday due to “extreme conditions caused by extensive flooding and serious traffic disruption,” the government said.

It appealed to employers to observe work arrangements normally used for the strong wind signal No. 8, which brings the city to an effective standstill with offices and stores shut.

A motorist drives through floodwaters on Hong Kong's Lantau Island.
A motorist drives through floodwaters on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island on Friday. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

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