13,000 Lightning Strikes Hit Hong Kong In One Hour

Record lightning strikes pounded Hong Kong today in its most violent electrical storm, which caused flooding and left people trapped in elevators.

The Hong Kong Observatory reported 13,102 bolts of lightning struck ground across the city in the hour after midnight. That’s the most since such data was first collected in 2005, said David Hui, a scientific officer at the observatory. The storm raged from 9 p.m. yesterday to 4 a.m. today.

Wind gusts of more than 100 kilometers an hour were recorded in Tai O district at 12:40 a.m., according to an observatory weather bulletin. More than 40 millimeters of rain an hour was recorded across the territory during the storm, according to the observatory website.

Police and firefighters responded to flooding in a village in the northern New Territories shortly before midnight, said a police spokesman who declined to be named citing government policy.

Five reports of people being trapped in lifts were received, according to a spokeswoman for the government’s Information Services Department.

The weather was linked to Tropical Storm Meranti, which is moving north through the South China Sea, according Chan Sai- tick, acting senior scientific officer at the observatory. The weather pattern ahead of Meranti caused high temperatures across Hong Kong and southern China yesterday.

“That led to a large accumulation of energy and very unstable conditions during the afternoon,” Chan said in a phone interview. “That energy was subsequently released last night.”

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