Heavy Rainfall 28 August 1923 | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Heavy Rainfall 28 August 1923

Heavy Rainfall 28 August 1923

Buildings damaged after heavy rainfall August 1923

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, August 1, 1923


Dear Liz,

It happens that I also possess this photo and thanks to Dr Joseph Ting and collectors, its location has been identified to be Happy Valley, with the Chinese houses in the foreground being part of the Wong Nai Chung village (黃泥涌村) which had since been demolished.  The western houses in the background belonged to Fung Fai Terrace (鳳輝臺) which still exists today.


Excellent, many thanks for identifying this image.  I also have the racecourse at Happy Valley under water following this typhoon, I shall be posting that soon along with the remaining typhoon images.

HK Telegraph 29 August 1923

The most serious effects of the rainfall was felt in Wong Nei Chong Village with some parts of the village under five feet of water. Owing to some reclamation works that is in progress, a bank has been thrown up in front of the village, which now lies in a hollow.

Newspaper photos of the damage caused to Wong Nei Chong Village can be viewed in the China Mail and Hong Kong Telgraph dated 1 and 8 September 1923 respectively.

Thanks a lot Moddsey for offering an alternative explanation of the severe flooding at Wong Nai Chung village and Happy Valley. Considering the rainfall recorded at HKO, 29 August 1923 did record more rain (daily rainfall of 190.1 mm) than 18 August 1923 (daily rainfall of 125.5 mm). However, I also possess a set of photographs from the 1923 typhoon (on 18 August 1923) with picture of the sunk L19 submarine (thus confirming the date of the typhoon) and pictures of huge fallen trees, landslide and severe flooding in many places in Hong Kong Island (and a few look like Happy Valley). Thus at this stage I think we cannot rule out the theory of the Happy Valley and Wong Nai Chung flooding being caused by the 18 August 1923 typhoon. Of course, as the two events were only separated by 10 days, maybe the albums (that are possessed by Liz and myself) combined photos from the two events? Anyway, very interesting catch! CM

Reference the torrential rains on the night of 28 August and morning of 29 August that caused the flooding of Wong Nei Chong and Happy Valley Racecourse, the following information is provided:

HK Telegraph 28 August 1923

Hong Kong has been lucky for once in the matter of typhoons. The No. 5 Signal was lowered and according to the Observatory report issued at 11:30 am today (28 August), the typhoon is filling up to the north of Hong Kong. The forecast is SW winds strong and moderating, overcast with occasional rain.

Last night it was very gusty and heavy rain fell causing some anxiety to Peak residents whose houses are still under repair due to the big typhoon on 18 August. Shipping went to shelter before dusk. but happily the Colony did not experience a heavy 'blow'.

The Observatory issued the following warning to Hong Kong and coastal ports on 28 August:

i) typhoon of unknown intensity within 60 miles of 22N and 116E moving NNW (about 120 miles due east of HK) and

ii) typhoon within 25N and 114E (about 180 miles due north of HK and inland), filling up and position uncertain.

After the major typhoon on 18 August, the following typhoon signals (different typhoon signal warning system employed today) were issued:

20 August: Signal 1 hoisted

21 August: Signal 2 hoisted and replaced with Signal 4.

22 August: Signal 4 lowered

27 August: Signal 1 hoisted and replaced with Signal 5

28 August: Signal 5 lowered

I would suggest that the photos in possession that have captured significant events during the period from 18 to 28 August 1923 were from different  typhoon events. 



Thanks again Moddsey! Your information clearly shows the long episode of successive typhoons and heavy rain during 18-29 August, thus it is indeed plausible that photo albums did not distinguish the different events and label the photos collectively as 1923 typhoon. If I may, would it be possible for you to upload the newspapers with photos for the episode? That would help put the different images into better perspective. Best regards, CM

The B/W images from the HKPL are not the best and not very clear for uploading. I would suggest readers view the newspaper photos of the typhoon events of August 1923 at the HKPL from here onwards.