March 31 (Bloomberg) -- Heavy rain swept Hong Kong yesterday evening with hail shattering windows as the city issued its highest rainstorm warning this year.
The Hong Kong Observatory declared the black rainstorm signal yesterday evening as wind speeds reached 100 kilometers (62 miles) an hour. Hail was sighted in several areas, it said on its Twitter account. While the storm has subsided, residents should stay alert to the danger of flooding, it said at 12:02 p.m. today.
The hail broke part of the glass facade at Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust’s Festival Walk mall in the Kowloon Tong area, with rain flooding the building. Two people were injured, including a truck driver hurt when a row of 20 cargo containers toppled, the South China Morning Post reported, citing the Hospital Authority.
“More than 40 millimeters of rainfall were recorded over widespread areas,” the observatory said after dropping the rainstorm warning signal. The weather will remain “unsettled in the next couple of days,” it said.
The storm came as revelers gathered in the city for the Hong Kong Sevens weekend. The winners of the three-day rugby tournament, the New Zealand All Blacks, performed a Maori Haka dance in the pouring rain after defeating England 26 to 7 at Hong Kong Stadium last night.
A total of 245 flights were disrupted by the rain today, with 200 delayed and the rest canceled or diverted, the Airport Authority Hong Kong said.
Mapletree “is in the process of assessing the damage caused as well as making the necessary insurance claim,” the company said in a statement to the Singapore stock exchange today.
Local newspapers, including the Mingpao, carried on their front pages photographs of water sheets pouring inside the mall and shoppers standing with umbrellas to stay dry.
Hail has been reported in Hong Kong 39 days since 1967, the Hong Kong Observatory said in a March 4 report.
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To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tan Hwee Ann at email@example.com Nicholas Wadhams