Cloudy threat to display
LOW cloud is threatening to hide many of the best Lunar New Year fireworks on Tuesday - but the Royal Observatory says the cold weather sweeping in from China may save the day.
Rain or fine, pyrotechnicians say the fireworks can go ahead because mortar casings, which fire the shots, are insulated with aluminium foil to keep them dry.
'If the weather stays like this we'll just fire into the clouds,' head pyrotechnician Wilf Scott said.
'We'll have multicoloured clouds for New Year . . . what's wrong with that?' Whether the heavy mist which has been shrouding the territory for several days will continue is 'in the balance', assistant director for forecasting Lam Chiu-ying says.
'We are certain it will be cold, around 10 degrees Celsius, with the arrival of more and more cold air from the north from Sunday onwards,' he said.
'If the cold air keeps on coming the cloud will go higher and higher and may not worry us on Tuesday.' Mr Lam said the Lunar New Year often brought gloomy skies.
Mr Scott said bad weather would be more of a problem for spectators than for the fireworks.
'Many of these fireworks have chemicals in them like magnesium which can burn in water so we fire under most conditions,' he said.
'Just recently we held a show in 60 centimetres of snow.' Mr Scott and his 15-strong crew have been working on this year's spectacle for more than three months. The theme is based on the territory's history as one of the most important trading ports in the world.
Six tonnes of fireworks worth about $1.2 million would be deployed during the 20-minute show, Mr Scott said, including new effects never before seen in Hong Kong.