HONG KONG — A deluge not seen in more than a century brought this global hub to a soaking standstill on Friday.
Schools and offices were shut, traffic was disrupted with roads turned into muddy rivers and even the stock exchange was closed as record-breaking rainfall caused widespread flooding in Hong Kong and southern China.
At least two people were killed and more than 100 were injured, authorities said, after the dramatic downpour began to hit the city Thursday night local time (Thursday morning ET).
The Hong Kong Observatory said that 6.22 inches of rain had fallen in the hour from 11 p.m. Thursday (11 a.m. ET Thursday) to midnight, the highest recording since records began in 1884.
It also issued its highest "black" warning for the first time in two years, lasting for more than 15 hours from 11:05 p.m (11:05 a.m. ET) — the longest "black rainstorm" in the city’s history.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed flooded roads, subway stations inundated and people struggling in the fierce currents.
The subway station for the popular Wong Tai Sin Temple site was flooded up to waist height, several videos on social media showed, with services skipping the station for safety reasons. Some roads collapsed due to flooding, which also saw mudslides hit the city, piling up stones of all sizes on the roads.
Hong Kong police said that two bodies were found floating in waters in different parts of the city, according to the Associated Press.
The city's fire department said it had evacuated 110 people and assisted 20 injured people, the AP added.
As of 2:15 p.m. (2:15 a.m. ET), around 117 people were injured and treated in the public hospitals’ emergency rooms, while four people were severely injured, according to hospital authorities.
The heavy rain came as a surprise for the city's residents.
Hong Kong was hit by Typhoon Saola earlier this month, but despite more severe warnings from weather officials the city was not submerged.
Because people were unprepared for the rainstorm, some tourists were trapped in the city.
“When can I go home?” a user posted on Xiaohongshu, the Chinese equivalent of Instagram. “Metro stations and crossings have become oceans.”
The city’s leader, John Lee, said on his Facebook page that Hong Kong was experiencing a “once-in-a-century rainstorm,” and the “extreme situation” had disrupted many districts, warning the public to stay in a safe place.
The government closed all schools on Friday, saying that the extreme flooding would continue through Friday, even as the rain eased.
The stock exchange in the global financial hub also didn't open due to the extreme situation.
Hong Kong’s neighboring mainland city, Shenzhen, was also deluged. The rainfall in the city broke multiple records, including maximum rainfall records over two hours, three hours, etc. These records were set in 1952.
All schools and some offices were also shut in Shenzhen, while many districts in the surrounding Guangdong province were similarly disrupted.