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    Apr 01, 2014

    Hail, heavy rain batter Hong Kong


    HEAVY rain swept Hong Kong on Sunday evening, with hail shattering windows as the city issued its highest rainstorm warning this year.

    The Hong Kong Observatory declared the black rainstorm signal on Sunday evening as wind speeds reached 100kmh.

    Hailstones the size of golf balls were reported in the New Territories and Kowloon.

    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 when a row of 20 cargo containers toppled, the South China Morning Post reported, citing the Hospital Authority.

    "More than 40mm 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 revellers 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 on Sunday night.

    A total of 245 flights were disrupted by the rain yesterday, with 200 delayed and the rest cancelled 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 yesterday.

    Local newspapers, including the Mingpao, carried on their front pages photographs of water sheets pouring inside the mall and shoppers standing under umbrellas.

    Hail had been reported in Hong Kong on 39 days since 1967, the Hong Kong Observatory said in a March 4 report.