9 october 2013

Heaviest rain for 52 years floods streets and homes in Shanghai

By Yang Jian, Ma Yue and Hu Min Shanghai Daily October 9, 2013,

More than 50 roads and 600 households were flooded yesterday as Shanghai experienced its biggest rainfall in 52 years between Monday night and noon yesterday.

Tragedy struck when two workers died in a factory on Fenghua Road in Jiading District’s Jiangqiao area at about 9am. The man and a woman collapsed when trying to pass a flooded area and it was believed they had been electrocuted.

The rain spawned by two typhoons, combined with a high tide in the Huangpu River, overwhelmed part of the city’s drainage system.

Local authorities issued the highest level of rain and tide alerts as well as the second-highest alert for gales.

“It is very rare for the city to suffer such a heavy rainstorm in October,” said Shanghai Meteorological Bureau’s Zhang Ruiyi.

Songjiang, Fengxian, Baoshan, Jiading, Minhang and Putuo districts and Chongming County suffered the most with more than 200 millimeters of rainfall from Monday night.

Cars spluttered to a halt while residents could be seen walking barefoot through water that was up to 20 centimeters deep.

Shanghai South Railway Station suffered a power cut at around 9:20am, causing several delays. The G3606 train on the line to Jinshan District was stuck halfway, near Xinzhuang Station, for more than an hour. Ten trains were canceled on the line that connects the Shanghai South Railway Station to Jinshanwei in southern Jinshan.

Services gradually returned to normal when electricity was restored at around 10am.

Water in a tunnel near Songjiang East Bus Station rose to cover the roof of a bus which had got stuck. Passengers and the driver had been evacuated long before the level rose that high.

A tree blown over at the junction of Longchang Road and Pingliang Road in Yangpu District at around 8am yesterday hit elevated wires, causing the No. 25 bus service to be suspended for around 90 minutes.

Roads around several Metro stations were flooded, causing problems for passengers during the morning rush hour.

However, the Metro network operated relatively smoothly apart from a 20-minute delay caused by a signal breakdown on Line 3 between Zhongtan Road and Hongkou Football Stadium at around 3pm.

Metro staff had taken preventative measures during the previous night in order to avoid incidents like last month when rainwater poured into a Metro tunnel and caused severe delays on Line 2.

However, flooded roads around some Metro entrances were making it difficult for passengers to reach their stations. Tricycles enjoyed a booming business ferrying passengers to Line 1’s Xinzhuang Station, charging up to 10 yuan (US$1.6) per trip across flooded streets.

Tongji University’s main campus on Siping Road was flooded with water around 30 centimeters deep at the gate. Some classrooms on the ground floor were flooded and a fire engine was called in the afternoon to help pump water out.

Lan Shuting, a senior college student, said the hall in her dormitory building at Tongji’s Jiading campus was flooded from early yesterday.

In Jiading’s Tianhua College of Shanghai Normal University, water overflowed from the river in front of the dormitory area. Swans were seen swimming onto flooded roads nearby, creating an interesting scene for passing motorists.

Some 6,000 firefighters and 628 fire trucks were sent to residential communities severely affected by flooding.

Some trees around 6 meters tall were almost submerged on a low-lying section of Qilianshan Road in Putuo District, and part of the road was closed.

Highways and the Outer Ring roads suffered heavy congestion in morning rush hour with many cars coming to a stop because of floodwater.

Between 8pm on Monday and noon yesterday, 11 weather stations across the city recorded an average precipitation of 152.9 millimeters, surpassing the amount of rainfall over a 24-hour period during Typhoon Haikui last year and Typhoon Matsa in 2005, two of the strongest to affect the city.

Shanghai’s benchmark observatory in Xujiahui recorded 182.5 millimeters of rain in 24 hours, one of the heaviest rainfalls since records began.

More than 30 domestic flights were canceled and around 100 delayed at Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports. China Eastern canceled seven flights to Japan and South Korea.

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