View of the cityscape across Hong Kong Harbor on a day with voluminous clouds in the sky.

Hong Kong Harbor. Photo © Roger Wagner, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Perched just below the Tropic of Cancer, Hong Kong enjoys a sub-tropical climate and four distinct seasons that follow those of the Northern Hemisphere, albeit with some noticeable differences.

Winters are short, running from just late December to February, and while the locals have few qualms about dressing up like wooly mammoths, the temperature generally hovers around the mid teens (centigrade). On very rare occasions the mercury will flirt with zero, but snow is unheard of.

Spring arrives in March and temperatures quickly warm up, heading into the mid-twenties. The temperatures continue their march on the mercury into summer with numbers in the high twenties by June.

Unfortunately, summer also signals the arrival of torrential downpours and Hong Kong’s dreaded humidity. The humidity reaches its hair-melting high in July and August, when days are marked by dashes between air-conditioned buildings and regular shirt swapping. Adding to the fun is the threat of a typhoon sweeping into town. Hong Kong’s typhoon or tropical cyclone season runs from May until September and the city usually gets tickled by at least a couple of typhoons each year. Typhoons bring strong winds and buckets of rain, sometimes forcing the closure of the airport, public transport, and, if you’re lucky, offices and workplaces. Occasionally the city falls in the direct path of a typhoon and although they can be incredibly destructive to property, Hong Kong is well prepared and deaths are thankfully rare.

The city’s favorite season is probably fall, from late September to late December, when humidity eases and temperatures dip back down to the more manageable mid-twenties.

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Living Abroad in Hong Kong.