Hong Kong flooded by heaviest rainfall in almost 140 years as black rainstorm warning issued

Record-breaking rainfall in Hong Kong has caused widespread flooding – shutting schools and businesses and turning streets into rivers.

On Thursday night it experienced the most rainfall in an hour since records began in 1884.

The Hong Kong Observatory recorded 158.1mm (6.2 inches) of rainfall between 11pm on Thursday and midnight.

The weather bureau issued a black rainstorm warning last night – the first in nearly two years – which remains in place until midnight on Friday.

It said more than 200mm (7.9 inches) of rainfall had been recorded on Hong Kong’s main island, Kowloon and the northeastern part of the city’s New Territories since Thursday night – and urged residents to stay safe.

“Heavy rain will bring flash floods,” it warned. “Residents living in close proximity to rivers should stay alert to weather conditions and should consider evacuation” if their homes are flooded, it added.

The territory ground to a halt as the torrential rain submerged streets, shopping centers and metro stations, and authorities shut schools and asked workers to stay at home.

Videos on social media showed the rain lashing down as motorists attempted to drive through the severely flooded streets – and a woman helplessly washed down a road.

One clip showed metro workers wading waist deep as they tried to stem the water flow gushing down the escalators and stairs into the station.

Images also showed a vehicle in a deep hole after a section of a road collapsed – and roads blocked by landslides.

A government statement said Hong Kong leader John Lee was “very concerned” about the severe flooding, and had instructed all departments to “respond with all-out efforts”.