Climate, Hong Kong
Air pollution continues to be a significant problem in Hong Kong. The haze which envelopes the city most days is caused by a combination of car fumes together with emissions from factories and power plants in the New Territories and Chinese mainland. This means that most days the famous Peak views will be affected to some extent by the air pollution levels.
The Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department monitors levels closely and provides an Air Pollution index on its website to update residents and visitors about currrent air pollution levels. For the short term visitor this shouldnt pose any problem however over a longer period reduced air quality may trigger asthma attacks in suseptible people.
Well, I currently do not live in HKG anymore, but I do 'keep an eye out' of HKG's major news stories...especially, when it's weather-related. This 'son-of-a-b*tch' is quite a storm (i heard), and based on a lot of the weather-related information that I've gathered so far, it's gonna lash out at HKG close enough, if not directly. The 'eye' is gonna be on top of either HKG itself, or perhaps close to Sheung Shui/ Lo Wu/ Shenzhen border area. Close call? You can say that again. Stay away from waterfronts, and windows. Simply just stay off the streets. It's only a (U.S. standard/ rating) Category 2? But, still, it was a Category 3 and it could strengthened in the next few hours or so... take care. Sep. 02, 2003 (12:12am, Los Angeles time)
Air quality and hazy view has becoming more common in Hong Kong due to the fast economy boom in Southern China with air polluting factories and wind conditions that can bring unfavorable results over Hong Kong island.
Hopefully, this problem will be cleared out in future. But on a nice day in Hong Kong, the view during the day or night of Victoria Harbor is incredible.
Definition of Black Rainstorm : The most severe color coded rainstorm signal in Hong Kong. When this signal is announced, Hong Kong grinds to a complete halt. Schools, Banks, Offices will be closed and all public transport is suspended till after another announcement is made to allow commuters to safely go home.
When it rains in HK, it really pours, particularly around the unfortunate months of May and June. As much as 70 millimetres of rain can fall within an hour during a 'black rainstorm'.
There's also a amber and red code but those signals are less severe. When that happens, a national holiday, I meant a national emergency, is declared and all workers are freed from the bull pens and kids are happily released from schools.
Do familiarise yourself with the rainstorm color codes in case of emergencies (see link below). Again, as much as I may make light of this, a black rainstorm is no laughing matter, floods and landslides can occur , as does severe traffic jams.
Over here in Hong Kong, typhoons(hurricanes) are as common to summers as dim sum are as to teahouses . Do familiarise yourself with the common typhoon vernacular (t1-t10) if you're coming to HK in the months of May to November. While I may make light of this, do note it's no laughing matter. Do refer to the actual website after reading my warped guide:
T1- A typhoon is around the corner (about 800 km of Hong Kong) but you can carry on drinking your tea.
T3 - Pretty Common Signal. No point carrying an umbrella at this point since it'll be blown inside out and ruin your nicely coiffered beehive.
T8 - HK is in the path of a typhoon! If you're a local, you'll rejoice at an impromptu holiday since you'll be released from work and will probably be camping out in a cinema. If you're a tourist, you'll hurry back to your hotel, and curse at the crowds but you'll think this is a great adventure.
T10 - A hurricane is happening now dude. You better be indoors reading this if not you might get tossed into the eye of a storm.
Be careful during summer time it is realy very hot and humid during this time the temperature goes up 38C, and going in Mui Woe is a hard time because no public transportation are allowed to enter in some area majority of them use bicycle for touring around. for those who dont know how to drive bicycle and no plan to walk for a miles lantau is not a place for you.
Air pollution is serious in Hong Kong, especially in Causeway Bay and Mongkok. Don't expect you can get some fresh air in the ubran area in Hong Kong, like most European countries. In summer, the air pollutants are trapped within the ubran area. Together with the hot weather, it is tough to have a shopping on the street. When you are not feeling well on the street, go to the shopping malls and shops with air-conditioners. It makes you feel better.
I recommend tourist not to spend more than 3 hours on the crowded streets. After an hour of shopping, take a break, have a tea in restaurants or have a drink in coffee shops.
For those who have respiratory problem, it is better to come to Hong Kong in winter. The weather is quite fine in winter, which is cool and the air quality is better.
The website of the observatory of the Hong Kong government provides the air pollution index updated every day. You may check for the air pollution index before going out for shopping.
If you are out and about, make sure you have water with you..I dont suffer from asthma very much, but found the humidity and the pollution did make me wheeze. Use precautions with the heat, and you will enjoy your stay!
Hong Kong is subjected to typhoons every year between the months of June to September. It is best to avoid Hong Kong during this period. Not only is it hot and humid but should there be a grade 8 typhoon, all shops and businesses will be closed. There is also the risk of being injured by falling overhead signages, air-conditioning units and other flying debris.
Hong Kong is just located south of the Tropic of Cancer and has a subtropical climate. During monsoons season (Spring thru Summer) You can get a lot of rain, similiar to the climate of Hawaii. The rain comes and goes and can sometimes be unpredictable. You will learn quickly that it is wise to carry an umbrella, because the rain can come out of no where.
Umbrellas can be found for a farely cheap price ($10HKD or $1.30USD) and it pays to have one.
*** The rain in this picture swooped into the city out of no where. Quickly blocking out the Hong Kong skyline within seconds. It is moving left to right in a giant wall, as you can see, the city in the left of the picture is nonexistent. As fast as the rain came, it was gone within a few short minutes, leaving the rest of the day with clear and sunny skys.
Just a minor warning when visiting this fascinating country, is that it gets exceedingly hot.
We visited in April and every day was very sunny, hot and humid. When visiting during the summer months, pack summer clothes and take some sunblock, and drink lots and lots of water.
However as its a very hot country they are equipped very very well for the heat, and everywhere you go you will be in an airconditioned environment. Buses, taxes, trains and even stations are also nice and cold making commuting less of a hot and sweaty business.
If you are planning on going up The Peak, watch the weather. When low cloud surrounds Hong Kong Island it makes visibility almost nil in places. The higher you go the worse it is. This photo was taken from my first apartment which was only half way up The Peak. My first 4 days in Hong Kong were like this but when it cleared, it was fantastic. If you go up The Peak in weather like this, you will see zero.
The coldest winter I've experienced is a summer in an air-conditioned shopping mall in Hong Kong!
Even being a local, I could not explain why the shopping malls in Hong Kong always keep a freezing temperature in summer. Bring along a windbreaker when going to shopping malls in Hong Kong during summer.
During the summer months, between May and September, typhoons may hit Hong Kong. Please heed their warnings, ranging from Typhoon Signal 1 to 10. At Typhoon Signal 8, most shops, offices and shopping malls close once it is raised. Gale or storm force winds are expected or blowing in Victoria Harbour, with a sustained wind speed of 63-117 km/h from the quarter indicated. Gusts may exceed 180 km/h.
Black Rain Warning is issued when 100mm or more of rain is predicted or has fallen. Residents are recommended to stay in doors as flash floods and landslides can be dangerous.
Typhoon warnings are raised at No. 1. At a No. 8 warning, winds gusting to 100 knots, shops and schools are closed. Ferry services and above ground Rail services are halted. People are advised to stay indoors.
Beware umbrellas on wet days, you are likely to have your eye poked out or a pin cushion made of your head. Sometimes its better to keep both arms free to fend off the nylon concaves.