HK Is Colder Than Sochi

13-Feb-2014 Intellasia | Wall Street Journal | 6:00 AM Print This Post

It’s so cold in Hong Kong right now that people are wearing jackets. Some, would you believe, are even sporting scarves. Yes, the temperature in this subtropical city has plummeted to 7.5 degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit), which would be freezing, if it was 0 degrees Celsius.

The Hong Kong Observatory says Tuesday’s temperature is the coldest recorded so far this winter and the lowest recorded in February since 1996. Usually, the city sees February temperatures of between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius. In Sochi, the Russian city hosting the Winter Olympics, the temperature reached 16 degrees Celsius on Monday.

Even in Krasnaya Polyana, where the outdoor events of the Winter Olympics are taking place, it hit 15 degrees Celsius on Monday, forcing the cancellation of training sessions at the RusSki Gorki Jumping centre because snow had softened in the landing area.

Here’s a solution: Bring the Games to Hong Kong. Think how spectacular it would look if the Peak Tram was converted into a ski ramp, allowing competitors to soar into the city’s skyline. Admittedly there’s a problem: No snow in Hong Kong. The last time it snowed here was December 1975 in the New Territories, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. But it never gets very cold, despite what shivering residents might say.

Still, there are plenty of potential Winter Olympics cities experiencing much colder weather than Sochi (and Hong Kong) now. Beijing, for starters. The Chinese capital, along with northern neighbour Zhangjiakou, has bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics (we hope to see freestyle skiing events over the Great Wall and speed-skating on Houhai, on chairs and ice bicycles).

Beijing has had a mild winter by its standards, but since the Lunar New Year holidays, the weather has returned to type. On Tuesday morning, it was around -5 degrees Celsius. But the city has a relatively dry climate, which is a problem if you’re looking for a reliable supply of snow.

Frank Strait from AccuWeather said he doesn’t expect Beijing to receive much snow even if it gets the 2022 Olympics. “I suspect that Oslo would be the best candidate,” he said.

Strait suggested two alternatives for the 2014 Games. Both are mountainous, which is a pretty important ingredient for alpine skiing, and both are experiencing unusually cold weather.

One is Yuncheng, in central China’s Shanxi province, not far from Xian – that’s the home of the Terracotta Warriors, who are battling below freezing temperatures and snow. The other suggestion is Boon, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The town is expecting 30 centimeters (about a foot) of snow this week. In Sochi, rain showers are forecast for Tuesday, AccuWeather says.


Category: Hong Kong

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