Cold weather warning lifted after 24 days
The cold-weather warning - in place for nearly 600 hours - was finally lifted yesterday morning, breaking the record set in 2004.
The mercury rose because the winter monsoon was moderating, the Observatory said.
The cold-weather warning was lifted at 9.30am, 5941/2 hours after it was issued on January 24.
The city's second-longest cold spell on record ended after 24 days on Sunday, when the minimum temperature recorded was 12.6 degrees Celsius.
The Observatory defines a cold day as one with a minimum temperature of 12 degrees or less.
Scientific officer Janet Kwok Yuen-ha said average daily temperatures in the next seven days were expected to range from 14 to 17 degrees, with rain at the weekend.
Johnny Chan Chung-leung, director of the Shanghai Typhoon Institute and chair professor of applied physics at City University, said the warmer weather was carried in by a change of wind direction from the north to the east.
He warned that temperatures would fall again next week when cold air started blowing in from Siberia.
The warmer weather should bring some relief for fish farmers, who have lost hundreds of tonnes of stock because of the cold, but Professor Chan said sea temperatures would stay low unless there was sufficient sunlight.
'Higher daily temperatures do not necessarily increase the temperature of sea water. It takes more heat to warm the sea,' he said.
Fishermen's Association chairman Pang Wah-kan said more than 150 tonnes of stock had died in the fish farming zone off Lantau, causing losses of about HK$10 million.
He expects that more fish will die. 'Most of the fish in the farms are dying,' he said.
'They can hardly recover with the low sea temperature.'
Legislator Wong Yung-kan, who represents the industry, estimates 1,400 fish farmers will apply for cash help of up to HK$5,600 from the government.
Mr Pang said fish farmers would ask for more relief in a meeting with officers from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department today, including a waiver of licence fees, a temporary freeze on debt repayments and training in how to farm fish better in winter.
A department spokeswoman said 73.5 tonnes of fish had been reported dead in Cheung Sha. It had no figures for deaths in 13 other such zones.
Industry representatives said 300 tonnes of fish had died.