Published: 15:43, December 16, 2023 | Updated: 17:17, December 16, 2023
Cold weather warning as mercury dips to 12°C in Hong Kong
By Wang Zhan

People throng the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade in Hong Kong to enjoy a cold afternoon as temperatures fell across Hong Kong on Dec 16, 2023. (DHRUBONEEL FAHMI FOR CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Observatory issued the first cold weather warning for the season on Saturday as temperatures plunged to as low as 12 degrees Celsius under the influence of the winter monsoon.

In the warning issued at 6 am, the forecaster said minimum temperatures in the city’s urban areas would be around 12 degrees and a couple of degrees lower in the New Territories Saturday night and Sunday morning. 

It will be cold in the morning and at night in the following couple of days, according to the observatory.

READ MORE: HKO says temperatures to drop to as low as 11 C on Saturday

A strong monsoon signal was also issued at 6 am, with expected winds reaching an average speed of more than 40km/h.

The Home Affairs Department has opened 18 temporary shelters in various districts on Saturday for people in need of the service

“Wind chill effect will be significant due to high winds. The temperature felt by body will be lower than the actual air temperature,” reads an HKO bulletin. 

The forecaster asked residents to be aware of the change in weather and keep warm.

Hong Kong’s health authorities reminded the public, particularly the elderly and people with chronic illnesses, to protect their health during the cold weather.

A spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health said that cold weather can easily trigger or exacerbate diseases, especially among the elderly and persons suffering from heart disease, respiratory illness or other chronic illnesses.

The Social Welfare Department issued a statement, reminding the elderly to take precautionary measures during the cold spell. 

“Relatives, friends and neighbors are encouraged to show concern and care for the health of frail elderly persons, particularly those living alone,” reads the statement.

People wearing warm clothes walk in the Belcher Bay Promenade in Kennedy Town on Dec 16, 2023.(DHRUBONEEL FAHMI FOR CHINA DAILY)

The Home Affairs Department has opened 18 temporary shelters in various districts on Saturday for people in need of the service. The temporary shelters will remain open when the Cold Weather Warning is in force.

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The HKO said the weather will be cloudier over the coastal areas of Guangdong in the next couple of days. A dry replenishment of the winter monsoon is expected to reach southern China midweek next week. 

With the monsoon persisting, it will still be dry over the coast of southern China and rather cool in the morning and at night in the latter part of next week, it added.