July has become Hong Kong’s hottest month ever, breaking 11 hot weather-related records, the Hong Kong Observatory said on Monday. It said a stronger-than-normal subtropical ridge had affected the South China region, causing the sweltering month.

Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

The record-breaking month saw 21 “very hot days,” topping the previous record set in 2020 by one day. The Observatory regards “very hot days” as those when the daily maximum temperature reaches 33 degrees Celsius or above.

There were 25 “hot nights,” when the daily minimum temperature is 28 degrees Celsius or above – surpassing the record of 21 hot nights in 2020. The hot-night streak ran for three consecutive weeks, also the longest since record began.

Record-smashing July

Other records included the hottest July day and the highest mean temperature in July.

Mean temp. in July30.3°CBroke the 2020 record (30.2°C)
Mean maximum temp. in July33.3°CEqualled the 2020 record
Mean minimum temp. in July28.4°CBroke the 2020 record (28.3°C)
Absolute daily maximum temp. in July36.1°C (on July 24)The highest on record
Absolute daily minimum temp. in July29.9°C (on July 25)The highest on record
Number of “very hot days” 21The most in a single month
Days with temp. ≥ 35°C10The most in a single month
Days with temp. ≥ 34°C16The most in a single month
Number of “hot nights” 25The most in a single month
Duration of “hot nights” streak21The longest duration on record

The Observatory said the mean temperatures on July 24 and July 25 topped 32 degrees Celsius, which were also a record-high for July.

Environment and climate experts and green groups have warned the heat wave was related the climate crisis, as Hong Kong and the world have warmed up over the past decades.

Heatstroke fatalities

There were at least four heatstroke-related deaths reported in July, including three hikers and a tree pruning worker. Unionists called on the government to list heatstroke as an occupational disease to protect workers, especially those who work outdoors.

Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP

But Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun earlier rejected the proposal, saying the move would “not be appropriate.” He said that bodily overheating was linked to exposure to sunlight and air circulation, rather than a person’s job.

However Sun mentioned that authorities were considering adding the Heat Index to the Labour Department’s heatstroke prevention guidelines to make it more concrete. The index is issued by the Hong Kong Observatory and includes indicators such as temperature and humidity.

Photo: Screenshot via Hong Kong Observatory.

The Observatory said that Tuesday would remain hot but heavy showers in the following days were expected to cool things down a bit.

“An upper-air disturbance is expected to bring heavy showers and thunderstorms to southern China in the middle and latter parts of this week. With the upper-air disturbance departing, showers will lessen over the weekend,” the Observatory forecast.

People were reminded to drink more water and avoid being in the sun for too long.

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Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.