Flash floods swamp Beijing, dozens affected by subway outages

BEIJING Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:18am EDT

A man rides an electric bike as a pedestrian carries an umbrella during a heavy rain storm in Beijing June 23, 2011. REUTERS/David Gray

A man rides an electric bike as a pedestrian carries an umbrella during a heavy rain storm in Beijing June 23, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

BEIJING (Reuters) - Many Beijing residents were left stranded by a big thunderstorm that flooded many roads and forced the closure of some subway stations.

Hundreds of commuters had to find alternative ways home in the middle of the deluge, as flash floods forced at least three subway lines to be shut temporarily.

The evening downpour, which turned the sky black, left drenched pedestrians wading through ankle-deep water on many side streets.

Thunderstorms in Beijing during the summer months are typical, although such heavy rain is unusual.

The Beijing subway said in a statement on its website that it had to shut down one of the lines, Line No.1, because water was coming in faster than their three high-powered pumps could get it out.

The entrance to one of the main subway stations, Fuxingmen, which carries Line No.1 and No.2, was shut, although Line No.1 appeared to have partially reopened, said a Reuters reporter.

Some streets in Beijing ground to a complete halt, but traffic in others appeared normal.

By mid-evening, 69 flights had been delayed for more than an hour and 97 flights were cancelled, the Beijing Capital International Airport said.

Chinese microbloggers posted photographs of cascading water at the entrances to some of Beijing's subway stations and aeroplanes stuck on the runway of Beijing's airport.

Showers are set to continue on Friday.

Torrential rain across southern and eastern Chinese provinces over recent days has killed more than 100 people, triggered the evacuation of half a million and has left large areas of farmland devastated..

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)