The heavy rains found their way inside Fourth Ring Round around 1 pm today, and it’s been sporadically pouring ever since: some deity simply dumping bucket after bucket of water over the city. I was outside around 1:30 pm to witness the sky and everything underneath it go eerily dark; 10 minutes later, a dazzling white mist rose out of nowhere, like the ash of a mythical sky creature. It was unbelievable. I put out both arms and said “What the fuck?” several times.
Lest you think it’s “just rain,” City Weekend web editor Natalie Litofsky tweeted about 30 minutes ago, “I live off of Chaoyanglu, just inside the 4th. Saw a car floating down my street a few hours ago, will prob only get worse.” It’s an urban flood, and as we’ve noted here before, Beijing’s infrastructure isn’t equipped to handle this much water. We’re also being told that this is the first time the city has issued an “orange” rainstorm alert since 2005, which is the second most severe warning, under “red.” The city has received an average of 9.5 centimeters of water as of 7 pm, and precipitation isn’t expected to stop until tomorrow morning. (It’s not just Beijing, either: Chengdu, Fujian and Nanjing are flooded as well.)
We’ll do a rain roundup post in the morning, but for now, please enjoy this video posted earlier today: a foreigner taking a dip in the street. If you are this person (or know him), drop us a line and collect your husky boy prize. Youku video for those in China after the jump, plus another view of the same foreigner.
This Sina video, an alternative view, has gotten 1.17 million hits in just five hours:
And one more alternate view: