Record rains paralyse China's southern city Changsha

BEIJING (Reuters) - Heavy rains swamped the southern Chinese city of Changsha on Monday, turning roads into rivers and submerging pedestrian underpasses and subway tunnels.

Emergency crews ferried locals to and from their homes on rubber boats and headed out to rescue drivers trapped on flooded roads, state CCTV reported.

From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., the state Weather China service said it measured 65.1 millimetres of rainfall in the capital of Hunan province, a new hourly record for the city in June.

"This rain is so heavy, at this rate, my compound will become an island,” one social media user wrote on their Weibo account.

Waters surging through an underground pass to a subway train station rose and overflowed onto the streets, videos posted online showed. By the afternoon, the city had shut down two subway lines and closed several tourism spots.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities in the city. But dozens of others have died in floods and landslides in recent days in southern provinces including Guangdong.

The level of the rains in June have caught many by surprise. Usually, China enters its peak rainy season in late July.

Extreme weather has made storms more intense and unpredictable, exposing heavily built-up and highly populated megacities with poor drainage to sudden floods and waterlogging. In rural areas, mudslides have been a major cause of fatalities.

Last week, President Xi Jinping called for all-out efforts to fight floods in the south, urging every possible attempt to rescue those lost and trapped.

(Reporting by Albee Zhang, Ella Cao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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