Torrential rain yesterday caused massive flight delays, forced partial closure of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Expressway for three hours, and flooded more than 100 areas in Shenzhen. No casualties were reported.
The heavy rain, said to be the strongest since 2008, prompted the city’s meteorological observatory to issue a red alert at 1 p.m. yesterday — the second-highest level of a five-level warning system.
Yesterday city monitoring stations recorded an average of 194.7 millimeters of rainfall. In some areas, the rainfall reached 300 millimeters. The heaviest downpour was in Longhua New Area, where 430.7 millimeters had fallen by 7 p.m., the observatory said. It forecasted rainfall to ease at 10 p.m. yesterday.
By 6 p.m. yesterday, the city had received 100 flood reports and traffic police had helped rescue 1,877 vehicles trapped in floods.
The Window of the World section of Shennan Boulevard was seriously congested. Traffic on 107 National Highway and on other roads in Nanshan District was at a complete standstill, according to Shenzhen police.
The heavy rain caused cancellation of 48 flights at the Shenzhen airport, which launched an emergency plan yesterday afternoon. The rain also forced 20 flights to land in Guangzhou and Xiamen by 4 p.m. yesterday, according to airport officials. About 30 flights were delayed by more than one hour.
The rain also caused suspension of bullet trains between Shenzhen and Guangzhou that departed after 2:43 p.m.
As the Nantou area was flooded by rain, tollgates at Nantou, Futian and Huanggang on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Expressway were closed for three hours till 6:45 p.m.
Passengers at Shenzhen International Airport Have to Wear Raincoat
Parking Lot at Shenzhen International Airport
The intense downpours that have soaked the city since Sunday overflowed drainage systems at Shenzhen International Airport, where water flooded into underground parking garages and other areas on March 31th.
The airport area in Bao’an District had recorded 284 millimeters of rainfall as of yesterday, the heaviest total from a local storm so far this year.
Airport authorities said yesterday that there were no problems with its internal water drainage system but acknowledged sporadic leaks inside the new terminal, which opened in November.
“We have found 168 leaky spots since heavy rain last December and have taken measures to prevent leaks,” airport spokespersons posted online. “This time, there are about 20 leaky spots and we will solve the problem after the rain stops.”
The statements came after photos circulating online showed water pouring from ceilings in scenes described by many travelers as “waterfalls” in different parts of the airport, including escalators, underground parking garages, walkways and access roads.
Some criticized the airport’s new terminal — the largest project in the city’s history and built at a cost of about 8.5 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) — calling it a shoddy project with flawed design. Some passengers and netizens speculated about whether the leaks were a result of substandard construction practices.
The airport said on its official microblog Sunday evening that the leaks had been stopped, the water had been cleaned up and operations at all affected facilities had been resumed.
The rainstorms also caused cancellations or delays for hundreds of flights Sunday and yesterday, stranding up to 5,000 travelers in the airport.