Hong Kong weather

Warmest winter solstice in Hong Kong since records began in 1884, and Christmas Day looks like being a warm one too

  • Mean daily temperature of 22.2 degrees Celsius edges out record set in 1992 and 1998
  • Temperatures in some parts of the New Territories hit 28 degrees
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 December, 2018, 10:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 December, 2018, 3:47pm

Hong Kong on Saturday experienced the hottest winter solstice since records began in 1884, and it’s likely temperatures will remain relatively balmy for Christmas.

The Observatory recorded a mean daily temperature of 22.2 degrees Celsius (72 Fahrenheit), edging past the record of 22 degrees set in 1992 and 1998.

The maximum temperature clocked in at 25.2 degrees. The warmest maximum reading recorded on a winter solstice was in 1951, when it hit 26.8 degrees.

Winter solstice, or dong zhi, marks the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere.

In the Chinese lunar calendar, it usually means being in the “extreme of winter” and signifies a turning point for longer days to come.

According to Chinese tradition, the day is typically celebrated with family by eating glutinous rice balls, or tang yuan, which symbolise unity and prosperity on the darkest day of the year.

Scientific officer Law Hiu-fai said a warm easterly airstream had contributed to the warmer weather on Saturday.

“There was quite a bit of sunlight in the afternoon, with not much wind, which is why we saw warmer temperatures,” Law said. “In other areas of the New Territories, maximum temperatures even reached up to 27 or 28 degrees.”

Christmas Day and Boxing Day are expected to be relatively balmy, with temperatures reaching a maximum of between 21 and 24 degrees.

Law however warned that temperatures would start to dip from Thursday onwards, making for a chilly New Year’s Eve of between 13 and 16 degrees.