Upgrades in weather alerts and the pipeline’s drainage system

Wallis Wang

CEO John Lee Ka Chiu says the extreme weather warning system is on track to be improved after devastating flooding caused by rainstorms last week.

Lee said the observatory had only issued a local heavy rain warning, as the heavy rain that fell on Monday morning in specific areas including Sai Kung, Tseong Kwan O and Kwun Tong did not reach the levels required to lift the black rainstorm warning.

However, rain exceeding 100 mm per hour was recorded in areas, while the black rainstorm signal standard is 70 mm per hour.

Rainfall forecasts have scientific limitations, but authorities should still think of “other ways to help people learn more information earlier and in more detail,” Li said.

“This will include increasing the risk factor when we think about sending warning signals. When we give information (we can) increase the content, the different set of aspects, including… not just the level of rainfall but also,” he added. Perhaps some stronger indicators of which direction the rainstorm is headed.

“Although there are limitations as a result of the science, I think if we think more from the citizens’ angle, where and what they want (to do) in preparations… we will look at it seriously.”

Lee said extreme weather may occur more often due to climate change.

He said that the Department of Sanitation Services will intensify patrols in rivers and waterways and remove debris to reduce the chances of flooding.

Lee reminded people of the need to be careful of the rain expected in the next few days, stay away from slopes, and do not stand under trees.

“We of course do not expect the rain and thunderstorms to be at the same level as the rainstorms we have just experienced, but we should not just ignore the risks,” he added.

Lee also noted that the Ministry of Home Affairs set up 45 desks in its offices across the city yesterday and today to help people affected by Typhoon Saola and the rainstorms apply for financial assistance.

Farmers, including fish farmers and fishermen, can apply for emergency funds from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation until September 20.

Some people, including the elderly, visited the Fanling Center yesterday to apply.

An elderly woman named Fung said: “My refrigerator was damaged by the floods and I have no money to buy a new one.” “I just want a refrigerator and I won’t get greedy.”

Another woman, Lam, said she lost a lot of furniture and had to calculate her losses to apply for help.

“My house was severely flooded because it is located in a low place,” she said. “All the furniture and appliances were waist-deep in water and damaged.”


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