Hail The Size Of Golf Balls Terrifies Hongkongers [UPDATE]

Hailstorm in Hong Kong 2
Being from Hong Kong, storms no longer faze me. But hailstones the size of golf balls? That's a different story. An upscale mall in Kowloon Tong recently had its windows smashed by hail, and certain subway stations were flooded; planes were diverted, containers at our ports were blown sideways... what a way to end a weekend of Rugby Sevens! (Which New Zealand won, by the way.)

Sichuan Floods Cause Bridge To Collapse, House To Crumble

House swept away by floodwater in Sichuan
Torrential rains in Sichuan province have caused flooding in several cities in recent days, leading thousands of militia and reserve troops to be dispatched to the hardest hit areas. The rains actually began last week, with the worst of it coming down in the last few days. Exact numbers regarding loss of life and property aren't available yet, but the rains have given us two vivid image of the destruction.

A Drive In Hong Kong

A Drive in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a city unlike any other, its buildings rising up out of the hills like ridged obelisks, its waters rippling with cargo ships, ferries, and buoys, its mountainside painted the shade of roiling green, its alleys stacked upon one another with overpasses and skywalks crisscrossing as in an M.C. Escher illustration. I'm in Hong Kong at the moment, and to try to capture a bit of the wonder of this place, I made the above video. Hope you enjoy.

Hail And Serein: The Amazing Storm That Just Swept Through Beijing

Hail and serein
That was quite the collective experience, Beijing. An hour ago, a dam in the sky broke. Rain turned into pellets of ice, the sound of its steady assault only interrupted by thunderclap that set off car alarms. One imagines Qu Yuan sitting somewhere with his feet propped up, enjoying the show. As quickly as the storm came, it departed -- but not before the sun shone out of a hole while the clouds were wrung dry. Now it is quiet, the singing of birds and rustling leaves beginning to fade amid the resumption of human activity, vehicles, construction.

Rain, Rain, Rain Everywhere

Liuzhou flooding
It's raining everywhere, and not the good kind, under which one might twirl around a lamppost. In Liuzhou, Guangxi, rains have caused flooding and prompted local blogger Liuzhou Laowai to exclaim, "It’s a holiday. It has to rain!" Here are more pictures of afflicted Guangxi towns via Xinhua.

Forget Swimming In The Street; Here’s Jet Skiing

Forget Swimming In The Street; Here’s Jet Skiing
This happened in Tianjin recently, probably Wednesday. Questions: How did this man get the jet ski into the street? Over shallow water, does the jet ski not get damaged? Why does he have a jet ski? Is he too good for swimming? What happens when the water recedes?

What Does Literature Have To Say About All This Rain?

Rain wrecks havoc in Tianjin featured image
Discounting a little drizzle, projected doomsday rains missed most of Beijing proper last night, though other parts of northeast China were not so lucky. Tianjin, which I tend to think of as Beijing's unkempt armpit about 100 kilometers to the southeast, was hit hard yesterday, and the aftermath on one unfortunate stretch of road is visible above.

Oops! Xinhua: “New Round Of Downfall To Hit Beijing” – Perhaps They Mean The Mayor And Deputy Mayor’s Resignation?

Xinhua headline
Our favorite government mouthpiece has flubbed again with the headline on its latest story (four-plus hours after its posting, it has yet to be changed). Ostensibly about a new round of rainstorms scheduled to hit this afternoon, Xinhua inadvertently draws our attention to the waves of negative reaction to the municipal government’s disaster response, a sampling... Read more »

Watch: Firefighters And Civilian Rescuers Attempt To Pull Out Submerged Vehicles At Guangqumen

Firefighters And Civilian Rescuers Attempt To Pull Out Submerged Vehicles At Guangqumen featured image
Within Beijing proper on Saturday, Guangqumen Bridge on southeast Second Ring Road was among the most affected by the rain, and resulted in one of the earliest reported deaths. (Incidentally, Guangqumen is about a kilometer and a half from Shuangjing Bridge, where some foreigners were having a good time, surely unaware of the trouble that was just down the street.) In this video, you see rescuers attempt to get to a submerged car at around 10 pm.

Rainstorm Death Toll Now Up To 37 As City Picks Up Pieces

Rain rescue
The publicized death toll for Saturday’s Beijing rainstorm was three, then four, then 10… and now 37 — and might will rise in the coming days. According China Daily, 25 drowned during the 20-hour storm, while others died of related causes. The municipal government estimates losses of at least 10 billion yuan. More than 50,000... Read more »

Pictures From Beijing’s Biggest Rainstorm In 61 Years

Beijing after rainstorm
The day after; picture by The Good Doctor Yesterday, Beijing saw its heaviest rainstorm since 1951, receiving on average 163.7 mm of precipitation as of 10 pm. Inevitably, there’s some bad news, which we’ll let China Daily deliver: The heaviest rain in 61 years that lashed Beijing Saturday have left at least four people dead and six... Read more »

The Rain Last Night Brought People Together, Too [UPDATE]

Rain brings people together featured image
We'll be learning, very soon, about the damages caused by the biggest torrential downpour Beijing has seen in several decades. There will be time to sift through the fallout and figure out how we pick up the pieces, i.e. drain and dry the whole damn city and find some of the many vehicles that were washed away in the storm. (By the way, today is another reason I'm glad I don't own a car in this city.) But for now, let's focus on the more lighthearted scenes from yesterday: fans having a good time at a Guo'an game; a foreigner delighting onlookers by swimming in the street; a party at Shuangjing, amid traffic.

The Party Is Apparently At Shuangjing Bridge [UDPATE: Video]

Party on
Just a half-naked foreigner directing traffic. Whatever. He appears to belong to the soon-to-be famous party of four laowai at Shuangjing Bridge. Hmm… Party of Four Laowai. That has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? What’s another way of saying “party of four”? Band of Four? Gathering of Four? Gaggle of Four? Gang… More pictures... Read more »

Today’s Biblical Rainstorms In Beijing Enabled This Foreigner To Have A Splash

Foreigner swims after rainstorm
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.

In Beijing, Guo’an And Hangzhou Greentown Are Playing Soccer In A Swimming Pool

Beijing rain
Heavy, heavy rains have again left Beijing’s streets flooded, but that hasn’t stopped tonight’s Chinese Super League match between the hometown Guo’an and Hangzhou Greentown FC. Above, the first goal of the night, putting Hangzhou up 1-0. That remains the score in Workers Stadium as the two teams slog it out in the 77th minute.... Read more »