Hong Kong Observatory announces 2018 was city’s third hottest year in recorded history
- An exceptionally warm Spring pushed mean temperatures beyond usual levels
- Observatory recorded 36 ‘very hot days’ – with temperatures 33 degrees Celsius or warmer, the third highest number on record
Last year was Hong Kong’s third warmest year, with the hottest May since records began, the Observatory said on Tuesday.
The Observatory said the city’s warm weather in 2018 was part of a global phenomenon, with the year on course to be the world’s fourth warmest recorded year.
Locally, the annual mean temperature for 2018 was 23.9 degrees Celsius, 0.6 degrees above the mean between 1981 and 2010. It was the third warmest since records began in 1884.
In May, the monthly mean temperature was 28.3 degrees, a record high for that month.
The year’s highest temperature recorded at the Observatory’s headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui was 35.4 degrees on May 30, the 11th highest on record.
“Mainly attributing to the exceptionally warm spring, the weather in Hong Kong was warmer than usual in 2018,” the Observatory said.
There were 36 “very hot days” last year, when daily maximum temperatures reached 33 degrees or higher. The number of such days ranked the third highest on record.
Last year also recorded the eighth highest number of “hot nights” – 26 in all – when the daily minimum temperature reached 28 degrees or higher.
The coldest day last year was February 1, when meteorologists recorded 6.8 degrees.
“The year 2018 was drier than normal in Hong Kong, mainly due to rainfall from February to May that was well below normal,” the Observatory added.
The annual total rainfall was 2,163 millimetres, 10 per cent lower than the 1981-2010 norm.
Last year also saw the severe Typhoon Mangkhut wreak havoc in the city.
The city issued the highest typhoon warning signal No 10 on September 16 when Mangkhut struck, and the signal lasted for 10 hours, the second longest since 1946, just behind the record of 11 hours set by Typhoon York on September 16, 1999.
“Hong Kong was severely battered by the extreme high winds and record-breaking storm surge brought by Mangkhut,” the Observatory said. “The destructive winds, severe storm surge and squally heavy rain associated with Mangkhut ravaged the city for about half a day, causing the most serious and extensive damages to Hong Kong in recent decades since Ellen in 1983.”
During Mangkhut, 458 people were injured, but there were no fatalities. Traffic and transport services were seriously affected due to flooding, roads and railways obstructed by fallen trees and scaffolding, and damage to pier facilities. A total of 889 flights were cancelled at Hong Kong International Airport.
There were over 60,000 reports of fallen trees and at least 500 reports of broken windows or glass curtain walls. Power supplies to over 40,000 homes were disrupted, while power cuts in some 13,500 households lasted for more than 24 hours.
Hundreds of yachts, dinghies and boats of various sizes were lost, sunk or seriously damaged by the powerful waves.
Five other typhoons warranted a warning signal last year, including Ewiniar in June, Son-tinh in July, Bebinca in August, Barijat in September and Yutu in November. All the signals were No 3, the second lowest in a five-level scale.