A cold snap gripped Hong Kong yesterday, with residents shivering as temperatures plunged to the lowest point in nearly 60 years and frost dusted the mountaintops of a territory accustomed to a subtropical climate.
Weather officials issued a frost warning, saying an “intense cold surge” was in place, coupled with chilling monsoon winds.
Morning temperatures dropped to 3.3?C in urban areas of the territory, where most buildings lack central heating, and below freezing on the hills.
It is the coldest weather in 59 years, senior scientific officer Wong Wai-kin (黃偉健) said.
“It is the coldest day since 1957. The daily minimum dropped to 3.3?C, the previous record was 2.4?C in February of 1957,” he said.
While the cold snap is by no means on the scale of the weather now affecting the US and swathes of China, such low temperatures are a novelty for many Hong Kong residents.
“It is very cold and windy over Hong Kong. People are advised to put on warm clothes and to avoid prolonged exposure to wintry winds,” read a note published on a government Web site.
As the mercury dropped, curious residents flocked to higher ground in search of frost, local broadcaster Cable TV reported.
“It’s very cold, my feet feel numb,” a young visitor to Tai Mo Shan, the highest mountain in Hong Kong, told the broadcaster.
Screen shots of flakes also swamped social media, but weather forecasters said the precipitation was “rain with small ice pellets” rather than snow.
About 20 participants of a cross-country race were sent to hospital after experiencing symptoms associated with hypothermia, local reports said.
Conditions are not expected to warm up until the middle of the week.
According to the Hong Kong Observatory, the coldest weather occurred in January 1893, when temperatures plunged to 0?C.
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