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'Caught off guard': S'poreans in Hong Kong tell of destruction heavy rains brought to city

On Thursday (Sept 7) night, Hong Kong’s weather bureau issued a “black rainstorm warning”, as the city was blanketed by its heaviest rainfall since records began 140 years agoThis comes just a week after Hong Kong was hit by Super Typhoon SaolaTODAY spoke with six Singaporeans based in Hong Kong in the aftermath of the delugeThe Singaporeans told TODAY that Typhoon Haikui had been more disruptive than Super Typhoon Saola, which they said was “tamer”They added that it could be because they were better prepared for Typhoon Saola, since warnings were issued prior to its arrival

By Deborah Lau Published September 11, 2023 Updated September 11, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

SINGAPORE — For Ms Fenyx Seah who had just moved to Hong Kong with her husband in April this year for work, experiencing their first typhoon – the Super Typhoon Saola, which hit the city on Sept 1 – was an “eye-opener”.

“It was something new to us, being Singaporeans,” the 30-year-old cafe manager told TODAY.

The couple had first sensed that “something was off” when they saw banks being boarded up leading up to Sept 1, something they do to protect their glass facades from shattering during a typhoon.

The pair then realised that a T3 typhoon warning had been issued.

Considering that the warnings could range from T1, which basically tells people to standby for a typhoon, to T10, which means a hurricane is approaching, it did not seem too concerning.

“Nothing really changed and nothing was really happening, it just felt windier than usual and we enjoyed the breeze especially since it was summer time,” said Ms Seah.

On Sept 1, the warning had been raised from T3 to T8. Still, she felt that “T8 felt manageable to us”, and that the typhoon “felt like a seaside breeze that went on longer than usual.”

But then came the warning that another typhoon, Typhoon Haikui, was approaching. A T8 signal was issued on the morning of Sept 7.

“At around 4pm onwards, the winds were extremely intense, road barricades and tin roofs were flying,” Ms Seah recalled.

“At this point, (the authorities) issued the T10 signal. The roads leading out of my apartment were inaccessible due to the debris all over the road.”

Most stalls began packing up and public transportation such as trams and buses started cutting back on their services.

Late on Thursday night, the city’s weather bureau issued a “black rainstorm warning” as the city was blanketed by its heaviest rainfall since records began 140 years ago.

The torrential rain was brought by Haikui, a typhoon that made landfall in the Chinese province of Fujian on Tuesday – bringing huge volumes of rain to areas still inundated by Super Typhoon Saola a week earlier.

TODAY spoke with six Singaporeans based in Hong Kong in the aftermath of the deluge – which has killed two people and injured more than 140, according to reports by state media.

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