HONG KONG - STREETS in Hong Kong were flooded by torrential rain on Saturday, as lightning and thunder roared above the southern Chinese city for several hours.
The Hong Kong Observatory upgraded the storm to a 'black' at 6.40am, as more than 200 millimetres of rain was dumped in the city overnight.
The 'black' warning means 70 millimetres of rain was expected to fall in just one hour.
'Because of seriously flooded roads and inclement weather conditions, you are advised to take shelter in a safe place and stay there,' the Hong Kong Observatory said in a statement.
The downpour caused severe flooding across some streets of Hong Kong island.
In the western district of Sheung Wan entire streets were hit as amid thunder and lightning people looked for ways to navigate the floods as water flowed over pavements. Shopkeepers stacked sandbags in an effort to keep their businesses watertight.
'This is the heaviest rain I have seen in years,' said Mr Edmund Kwan, an office worker who was waiting for his girlfriend at the MTR (Mass Transit Railway) station.
In some areas water was almost up to the windows of parked cars as people rolled up their trousers and waded through knee-deep water in flip-flops.
The rain also caused several delays at Hong Kong's International Airport on Lantau Island, one of the worst-hit spots in the territory, an Airport Authority spokesman said.
Passengers were advised to contact their airline for more information about their flight.
The city's schools and courts were closed, while child care centres and elderly services centres were closed to the public, the government said in a statement.
Hong Kong is regularly hit by severe rain and even typhoons during the summer months. -- AFP