Spring can be beautiful in Shanghai, but don’t forget this is a tropical area and the rains can be scary at times, if not plan-crushing. A few years ago flash floods were quite common in the Spring, though larger streets and more capable drainage systems (and more plants with more soil to absorb water) have been installed to ease some of the flood concerns. Nevertheless, during the Spring months there are sure to be quite a few torrental downpours to soak the city’s residents and strand a few moterists. If you find yourself caught in a flash flood there are simple steps to take to ensure your safety and then keep yourself dry and wait out the flood.
1.) If you see the streets beginning to swell with water don’t wait for an invitation to get indoors. Even if it is a false alarm the worst thing that will happen is you arrive a few minutes late wherever you were headed. Not every building is suitable to withstand flooding and at the early stages its safest to assume the worst and prepare accordingly. Head for a sturdy, newer building. New structures are equipped to handle emergencies better than older, hutong style houses and cement structures. Once indoors, get yourself above the flood line, but stay low enough to the ground to escape the building should it begin to crumble. Again, assume the worst and think then act accordingly.
2.) Now that you are inside, find a window and take peeks outside. Don’t stand near the window under any circumstances because torrential rains usually damage other structures like trees, light poles and wires, and they can snap and crash through a glass window hitting you in the curious face. Your best bet it so be close enough to a window to look outside from time to time without standing close enough to be hit by and debris. Along the same lines, don’t lean against any walls or stand near outlets or electrical devices. You want to be an isolated item in a room, and preferably a room that is free of anything that will attract water.
Check back tomorrow for parts 3 and 4 on how to survive a flash flood in Shanghai.