Flu season is over, but HKO forecasts cold weather for Rugby Sevens weekend

South China Morning Post

March was the fourth warmest on record with twice as much sunshine as normal, mostly due to a weak winter monsoon

South China Morning Post |

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The flu season, which peaked in January, lasted for about 12 weeks.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) has announced the end of the winter influenza season, but it says Hongkongers should continue to maintain personal and environmental hygiene.

The flu season, which started in early January, lasted for about 12 weeks. The spread of the flu virus peaked in mid-February and started to decrease early last month.

“The predominating virus of this winter influenza season has been influenza B,” a spokesman for the CHP said. “Children are relatively more affected in seasons with a predominance of influenza B virus, and this was reflected by the large number of outbreaks of influenza-like illness in schools this season.”

Flu is gone and the city is warming up – until the temperatures start to drop over the weekend. A cold front will cross the coast of Guangdong province later today, bringing showers and temperatures falling to a low of 16 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

But there’s no need to bring your winter jackets back out just yet. The monsoon is expected to ease early next week and temperatures will slowly rise again. The weather will become fine during the weekend, though cool in the mornings.

The past month was “unreasonably warm” and sunny with little rain, the Hong Kong Observatory said. The monthly mean temperature of March was 20.8 degrees – 1.7 degrees higher than normal – making it the fourth highest on record. The total duration of bright sunshine in March was 196.2 hours, more than twice the normal figure. Total rainfall was 22.7mm, only about a quarter of the normal figure of 82.2mm.

Observatory scientific officer Andy Lai Wang-chun said the warmth was due to a weak winter monsoon. “The upper-air southerly wind was also relatively weak, leading to less moisture transport than usual.”

Less moisture meant fewer clouds which caused the low rainfall, Lai said.

Edited by Pete Spurrier