Primary schools and kindergartens remained closed on Monday with Hong Kong experiencing its coldest weather in almost 60 years. The Hong Kong Observatory expects temperatures to range between three to nine degrees Celsius for the day as a cold surge from the north continues.
Temperatures hit a low of 3.1 degrees Celsius on Sunday, the third lowest on record. On Tai Mo Shan – Hong Kong’s highest peak – the mercury dipped below freezing to -5 degrees Celsius, according to the Observatory.
A total of 20 hours was spent rescuing over 100 people stuck on Tai Mo Shan. More than 200 firefighters deployed, according to RTHK. Most of those rescued were suffering from hypothermia.
The icy conditions hindered firefighters attempting rescue missions. More than 130 people on Kowloon Peak also requested help. All affected persons were evacuated from both mountains by midnight yesterday.
The government has announced that temporary shelters will remain open throughout Monday. Kindergartens, schools for children with physical or intellectual disabilities, and primary schools are also suspended. However, schools “should keep their premises open and implement contingency measures to look after students who need to return to school,” the Education Bureau said.
‘You can do it’
As students discussed class cancellations online, the Chinese University of Hong Kong Vice-Chancellor Joseph Sung said on Facebook “When I was in Canada, I went to school at -37oC. I know you can do it.”
On Twitter, some netizens were also unsympathetic:
All primary schools in Hong Kong will be closed tomorrow because of “adverse weather.” Sunny day, 51F/11C. Remarkable. Only in #HK.
— Wei Gu (@weigu) January 24, 2016
Proof that Hong Kong retains a strong British influence: it hits zero degrees and the place falls to pieces.
— Hong Kong Hermit (@HongKongHermit) January 24, 2016
— Lara Day (@lmjday) January 24, 2016
Others criticised the government for over-reacting.
Shareholder activist David Webb said on his blog: “Let’s get real. Yes, it is just about freezing on high ground, which is exciting for some young HK citizens who have never seen frost, but this is not New York. We are not struggling under 2 feet of snow. There is no “immediate danger”… of people being unable to get to school or facing blizzards on the way. The Government has, once again, panicked and gone beyond its statutory powers…”
Warmer weather is expected around mid-week.