Hong Kong is likely to experience fewer “cold days” where the mercury will drop to 12 degrees Celsius (53 Fahrenheit) or below this winter, but there may be large temperature fluctuations, the city’s weather forecaster has said.
The Observatory said El Nino, a natural climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean that brought warmer sea-surface temperatures, continued in the past month and was expected to persist in the coming winter and spring.
It added that winter temperatures in the city were rising, with most climate models worldwide forecasting normal to above-normal temperatures over southern China in the coming season.
The normal to above-normal temperature range for December to February is 16.8 degrees to 17.7 degrees and above.
“Although the average winter temperature in Hong Kong is expected to be normal to above normal, day-to-day fluctuations in weather and temperature can still be quite large with occasional cold weather,” the forecaster said on its website on Friday.
“The number of cold days this winter [will] likely be [fewer] than that in the previous winter.”
A cold day is defined as temperatures falling to 12 degrees or below, with the normal range for such days being 9 to 17 degrees. The city experienced 13 cold days last winter.
The forecaster also said the city this winter would experience normal to above-normal rainfall – defined as 65mm to 137mm and above.
It added that there would be a slight rise in temperatures over the coast of Guangdong, ranging from 20 to 25 degrees, in the next couple of days.
A northeast monsoon would reach the coast of southern China on Wednesday, bringing cooler weather, stronger winds and one or two rain patches, it added. An easterly airstream could bring a few rain patches to coastal areas over the next weekend.
Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau said he expected Covid-19 and winter flu cases to peak in the coming months, urging residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible and be aware of personal hygiene.
He explained that the coming winter would be the first one without a mask mandate since the onset of the pandemic three years ago. Frequent gatherings and increased travel during the holiday season would also spread the virus, he warned.
But he said he was confident that the public healthcare system would be able to handle any surge in cases.