Heat in May but can’t get away

May 31, 2023 09:28

Nothing we can do to stop the early heat wave that hits Hong Kong and China.

Except of course you turn on the air-conditioner 24 hours a day, or go to another country.

I chose the latter. Here I am in Kunming, a favourite tourist spot due to its friendly weather where most homes are not equipped with air-con.

Still, it is sunny and hot. My dear local friend offers the best travel advice – stay home in the afternoon.

Weather is the determining factor in my one-week mainland tour.

I also visited Beijing, the capital city up north with lower temperature. To avoid the heat, I spent a lot of time hopping bookstores and tried to stay indoors as much as possible during the daytime.

But I cannot complain because the heat there was dry and often helped by the wind, unlike in Hong Kong where I was told no one would want to come near a window because of the hot air.

Hong Kong issued its first extreme heat warning yesterday as temperature surged to 35 degrees with some districts at the New Territories districts reaching over 40 degrees because Typhoon Mawar, said to be as powerful as Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018, is hitting Taiwan and the coast of Southern China.

Shanghai has already entered the summer season this week with a 36.7 degree recorded on Monday, the highest temperature recorded in a century.

Spare a thought for the outdoor workers who are supposed to get a 15-minute break in an hour for the first time this year under the new labour law.

However, they do not get a high temperature leave as some mainland provinces would stipulate if the temperature hits over 37 degrees.

Funny enough, the leave is not listed in the national labour law but at the discretion of provincial governments.

In Hong Kong, the Observatory defines 33 degrees as very hot days. Due to the climate change, we had 52 days of very hot days in 2022, less than the all-time high of 54 days in 2021.

But this is not the hottest May. According to the Observatory, the summer started early in May in 2018 when 16 out of the 31 calendar days in the month was over 33 degrees.

Oh boys, we still have a long summer to bear.

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EJ Insight writer