Friday, December 20, 2013

Cold Weather Warning

The Hong Kong Observatory issued a Cold Weather Warning. People are being told to take precautions and do what they can to keep warm. The daytime temperatures are around 15 degrees Celsius/59 Fahrenheit and just under 10C/50F degrees at night.

I’m from Minnesota. 50 degrees is autumn weather to me. It’s not winter – and it’s definitely no reason to be alarmed.

What I have to remember – and what other people who don’t understand why anyone would complain about such a warm winter have to remember – is that in this part of the world anything even close to freezing is considered very cold. In Minnesota we have heating systems in our homes, heavy coats, plenty of blankets and houses with lots of insulation to protect us from the cold. People don’t have heaters in Hong Kong. You can buy a little portable heater but it’s not the same. Hong Kong houses are designed to protect people from the humid summers. Everybody has air conditioning. I’ve never been to a house in Hong Kong with a heater. The insulation here is terrible. If I stand next to the living room window I can feel the wind from outside.

There’s also usually very little difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. In Minnesota it’s always colder at night. In Hong Kong it’s usually about the same, just not sunny. People from Hong Kong aren’t used to being warm in the day and getting chillier at night. Right now they’re just cold all the time – especially at night.

It’s easy for me to say this is a very mild winter, but that’s because I’m used to blizzards and plenty of snow every winter. For people who are used to 90% humidity 90% of the time, this is a very cold winter.


  1. Well said. I'm originally from the UK and having lived in HK for over 7 years, I acclimatized enough to think 12 degrees is cold! Very true about terrible building construction quality (having double-glazing would even help keep the air conditioner bills lower). Let us not get started on millions of shops in Asia with open doors blasting air con outside in the summer!

  2. The air conditioning in summer still bugs me. I don't know why they have to have it up all the way. Sometimes a little goes a long way.


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