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The Year's Weather - 2002 (15 January 2003)

The year 2002 was the second warmest year on record. The mean temperature of 23.9 degrees was 0.9 degree above normal. The first few months of the year was warmer than usual because fewer cold surges had come to affect Hong Kong. In May and June, the monsoon trough which normally brings a lot of rain to Hong Kong was quite inactive, resulting in more days with sunny weather and hence higher temperatures. While the first half of the year was exceptionally warm, the temperature of the second half of the year was near normal.

The tropical cyclone season started much later than usual, with the first tropical cyclone warning signal issued on 3 August. Only three tropical cyclones affected Hong Kong this year, about half the normal figure. All three of them had originated in the South China Sea. During the year, none of those tropical cyclones originating over the western North Pacific entered the South China Sea to affect Hong Kong. This was due largely to the development of an El Nino in the year, which was characterized by above normal sea surface temperatures in the equatorial eastern and central Pacific. The associated change in atmospheric steering flow caused tropical cyclones over the western North Pacific to turn towards the north before entering the South China Sea.

January was warmer than normal.

It was warmer and sunnier than usual in February.

A monthly mean temperature of 21.5 degrees made March 2002 the warmest March on record. The monthly total rainfall of 238.7 millimetres was more than three times the normal amount for March.

April was warmer, sunnier and drier than usual.

It was warmer and slightly drier than normal in May.

Warmer weather continued into June with a mean temperature of 28.8 degrees, which ranked the second highest for June.

The weather became cloudier than usual in July.

With the approach of Severe Tropical Storm Kammuri, the first Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal of the year was issued in early August. Kammuri missed Hong Kong and eventually made landfall near Shanwei. In mid-August, Severe Tropical Storm Vongfong moving across the South China Sea to the southwest of Hong Kong led to the issuance of the Standby Signal No. 1. August as a whole was slightly drier than normal.

It was rainy in September. The monthly rainfall of 723.0 millimetres was about 2.4 times the normal amount and ranked the fourth highest for the month. The approach of Severe Tropical Storm Hagupit necessitated the issuance of the No. 8 Southeast Gale or Storm Signal in Hong Kong. Hagupit passed at about 150 km to the south-southwest of Hong Kong and made landfall near Yangjiang.

October was cloudier and wetter than usual. Total bright sunshine duration of the month was the second lowest on record. The Red Rainstorm Warning issued on 18 October was the latest such warning ever issued in a year.

November was drier than usual. The monthly rainfall was 34 per cent below the normal amount.

December was cloudier and wetter than usual. On 19 December, thunderstorms associated with a cold front affected the New Territories and necessitated the issuance of Thunderstorm Warning, the first time in December for over 30 years.

Last revision date: <20 Dec 2012>