Record floods as storms hit Guangzhou

Top News | Amy Nip and Xinhua 8 May 2017

At least seven villages in northern and eastern Guangzhou - capital of Guangdong province - suffered the most serious floods in 20 years as intense rainstorms hit the areas early yesterday.

At least 172 houses collapsed and 6,925 people were evacuated as of last night. But there was no report of injury.

The Guangdong provincial meteorological bureau said the rainstorms caused landslides in mountainous areas and flooding in several towns.

For the first time this year, the red rainstorm alert was raised in Guangzhou - the highest level in a four- tier alert indicating 100 millimeters of rainfall within three hours.

Huadu, Huangpu and Zengcheng districts were hardest hit. From midnight to 2pm yesterday, Jiulongzhen in Huangpu district (northern Guangzhou) reported rainfall of 524mm, followed by 435mm in Xintangzhen in Zengcheng district (eastern Guangzhou) and 334mm in Huadongzhen in Huadu district (northern Guangzhou).

The rainfall broke several records. Jiulongzhen broke the daily rainfall record for Guangzhou, while Xintangzhen broke the three-hour rainfall record for the province.

Rivers in Huadu district saw the biggest flood in 20 years. Water overflew three dikes, damaging one of them. Its municipal government posted a video of several pigs grabbing onto floating poles in floodwaters.

In Zengcheng district, flooding was three meters deep and residents had to move to the upper floor of their houses.

Several trains to central Guangzhou were delayed due to flooding on the tracks.

More than 260 armed police and 117 firemen were dispatched for rescue efforts, as well as 30 vehicles, 20 boats and three excavators.

The Guangdong meteorological bureau described the mega rainstorms as rare. A preliminary analysis showed convergence of two warm air streams to the north of Guangzhou, and the "urban heat island" effect could have escalated the conditions.

It predicted severe rainstorms in northern Guangdong and rainstorms in the province's western areas today and tomorrow. Thunderstorms will continue for two more days, it added.

The Hong Kong Observatory said an easterly air stream is affecting the coastal areas of Guangdong. For Hong Kong its forecast today is sunny intervals, a few showers and thunderstorms. Temperatures will hover between 24 and 29 degree Celsius.

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