By ZEN SOO AP
Hong Kong on Friday closed schools and halted trading on the stock exchange as torrential rain lashed the city overnight, flooding streets in parts of the city as well as an underground subway station.
Heavy rains poured down on the city from Thursday night, with the government warning that the weather would last till noon Friday.
The Hong Kong Observatory said it recorded 158.1 mm (6.2 inches) of rain in the hour between 11 p.m. Thursday and midnight, the highest recording since records began in 1884.
The highest “black” rainstorm warning, the first in nearly two years, was issued Thursday night and remained in place Friday morning, with residents urged to seek safe shelter if they were outdoors.
Videos circulating on social media showed a flooded underground subway station, as well as water rushing down the stairs and escalators of the station.
Other videos showed cars caught in muddy water on flooded streets, including in the city’s cross-harbor tunnel that connects Hong Kong Island with Kowloon. Another video showed a flooded shopping mall in the city’s eastern Chai Wan district.
Most of the city’s bus services have been suspended, as well as parts of the city’s subway network that have been affected by the rain.
Authorities announced that classes for the day were suspended, and urged non-essential employees not to head to their workplaces.
A government statement during the early hours Friday said that Hong Kong leader John Lee was “very concerned” about the severe flooding in most parts of the territory, and has instructed all departments to “respond with all-out efforts.”
The Hong Kong stock exchange did not open for morning trading Friday and will remain shut in the afternoon if the city’s “black” rainstorm warning remains in place 12 p.m.
The city’s observatory attributed Friday’s rain to a “trough of low pressure” associated with the remnants of the Typhoon Haikui, which earlier this week swept through Taiwan and southern China’s Fujian province.
The torrential downpour comes days after the city was shut down due to a different typhoon, Typhoon Saola.