Climate and Weather
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Hong Kong, sitting just above the Tropic of Cancer, has a sub-tropical climate. Temperatures are mild for about half of the year, with the best months, temperature-wise, from late September to early January. Weather is ideal at this time, with skies clear and temperatures not too cold. February and March are the coldest months, when temperatures dip down to about 10-15 degrees Celsius or 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures from April to September are balmy. July and August are the hottest months when temperatures soar up and over 30 degree Celsius or 90 degree Fahrenheit. Humidity is high at this time of the year.
Buildings, homes, shops and public transport are all fully air-conditioned even in winter, so keep a light sweater or shawl handy even when it is cool outside.
Rain during the summer months is frequent and sometimes torrential. Flooding can be a problem, though the worst effects are usually contained within the New Territories, to the North of Hong Kong Island by the mainland border.
Due to the high humidity and rain fall, mold does tend to proliferate; to combat the growth of mold, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and wardrobe heater bars are necessary household appliances.
Climate: sub-tropical with cool, dry winters and hot, humid summers. Monsoon season is from June until September and the average rain fall is about 87 inches or 2,214 mm. The mean monthly temperature ranges from 16 Celsius or 60s Fahrenheit in February to 29 Celsius or 80-90s Fahrenheit in July.
Heavy rainstorms and typhoons may occur during the summer months. The Hong Kong Observatory will issue warnings over the radio and television of approaching inclement weather.
Rainstorm Warning System
When rainstorm warnings of amber, red or black are hoisted, be aware that heavier then normal rainstorms are expected. The black rainstorm warning is the most severe, and you are advised not to drive during these periods. Red and black rainstorm warnings usually mean that schools may be closed.
Typhoon Warning System
The typhoon season runs through the summer months and can continue until as late as November. A typhoon is similar to a hurricane, with high winds and heavy rainfall, its only difference being the name.
A "tropical storm" with wind speeds in excess of 74 mph is called a "hurricane" in the North Atlantic, Northeast Pacific east of the dateline and South Pacific east of 160E. A tropical storm is called a "typhoon" in the Northwest Pacific west of the dateline.<br>
It is said by the Chinese that a typhoon with heavy rains means less high wind, a typhoon with little rain means high wind and more damage.
Ample warning of an approaching typhoon will be issued by the Hong Kong Observatory via radio and television broadcasts. The severe Tropical Storm Signal 1 will be hoisted whilst the storm is still several hundred kilometers away. As the storm approaches and is upgraded to a typhoon, the Typhoon Signal Number 3 is hoisted. Kindergartens will be closed at this point. If the typhoon is headed for Hong Kong, Typhoon Signal 8 may be hoisted within 12 hours - watch television or listen to the radio for updates.
A hoisted Typhoon Signal 8 means all schools and offices will be closed, public transport is cancelled and taxis become a rarity. Flying in the face of all this, though, some of the city's bars stay open come what may and offer free drinks during a Typhoon Signal 8!
At home, make sure all windows are firmly closed and locked. Secure or bring any outdoor plants and furniture indoors, unblock any outdoor drains. Do not venture outdoors as flying debris and flash floods put you at risk.
The Typhoon Signal Number 10 is hoisted when winds reach a force of 118 km/h with gusts exceeding 220 km/h. Under no circumstances should you venture outdoors if this signal is raised, even if you think the storm is over - it may just be the eye of the storm. When the eye of a typhoon passes over Hong Kong, everything goes quiet, but only for short while. Without warning, winds will pick up again as the typhoon runs its course. Hong Kong apartment blocks are usually safe, but prevention and awareness are key in any potentially dangerous situation. Even after the typhoon signal has been downgraded, be aware that typhoons have been known to back track. Water levels in storm drains will remain high and fast flowing for several days, do not allow your children to play near them.
The Hong Kong Observatory
Weather Hotline: 187 8066
Tel: 2926 8200
Fax: 2311 9488
Last Updated: 12 November, 2004