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Hongkongers awoke to a very chilly morning on New Year’s Eve. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Frost warning for New Year’s Day, sub-zero temperatures on Hong Kong’s highest peak as ‘intense cold surge’ grips city

  • Temperatures on Tai Mo Shan hovered between 0 and minus 1 degrees Celsius in the early hours, according to the Hong Kong Observatory
  • ‘Winter monsoon’ to keep temperatures between 8 and 14 degrees on New Year’s Day, while frost expected at higher elevations and in parts of New Territories
Victor Ting

The Hong Kong Observatory on Thursday issued a frost warning for January 1 for elevated areas and the northern New Territories, as residents woke up on New Year’s Eve to some of the lowest temperatures of the season.

The Observatory said farmers and others should be aware of the impending ground frost on New Year’s Day, while the mercury on the last day of 2020 ranged from a high of 13 to a low of 8.1 degrees Celsius – the coldest temperature recorded so far this winter in the city’s more populous, low-lying areas.

Meanwhile, overnight on Tai Mo Shan, the city’s highest point, some Hongkongers were seen enjoying the cold weather as temperatures dropped as low as minus 1.2 degrees.

Visitors to Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong’s highest peak, saw temperatures dip below zero overnight. Photo: Felix Wong

According to the Observatory, temperatures on the mountain hovered between 0 and minus 1 degrees from midnight to 5am.

The city’s weather forecaster also predicted a temperature range of 8 to 14 degrees on New Year’s Day, which it attributed to the influence of an “intense cold surge”.

“It will be very cold and very dry over southern China,” it said. “Another surge of the winter monsoon is expected to reach the coast of Guangdong midweek next week.”

Authorities also urged residents to avoid mass gatherings and observe social-distancing rules over the three-day New Year’s weekend starting on Friday.

A woman bundled up against the cold walks down a street in Central on New Year’s Eve. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said patrols and law enforcement would be stepped up in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre piazza area, Salisbury Garden and the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, while the Labour Department said officers would broadcast warnings in multiple languages and conduct enforcement operations in areas popular with domestic helpers during the long holiday.

On New Year’s Eve, the MTR will run on its normal schedule, and will not provide overnight service – as it typically does for the occasion – and some bus route diversions will also take place.

The nightlife district of Lan Kwai Fong and some nearby streets have been closed to vehicles since 2pm.

The Transport Department also reminded drivers to avoid the newly opened Tuen Mun-Chap Lap Kok link to cut down on congestion.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Warning as new year gets off to frosty start