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Sunday, January 24, 2016, 19:23

Record low temperatures hit Hong Kong

By / Kahon Chan
Record low temperatures hit Hong Kong
A hiker walks on Hong Kong's tallest mountain Tai Mo Shan on 24 January 2016. The lowest temperature on Sunday was recorded at -5.6 degrees Celsius. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Dozens of frost chasers and race participants have requested for help to descend from some of Hong Kong's tallest mountains due to hypothermia and icy road conditions.

The temperature in Tsim Sha Tsui plunged to 3.3 degrees Celsius on Sunday morning, a record low since 1957. The lowest reading on a thermometer in Tai Mo Shan, the city's tallest mountain, was about six degrees below freezing.

Just before sunrise, calls from hikers were flooding into the emergency call center for assistance.

As of 4:30pm on Sunday, 111 persons on Tai Mo Shan were reached or rescued by HK Fire Services. Most of them suffered from hypothermia; 45 were admitted to hospitals and the rest were still waiting on the mountain.

Callers from Tai Mo Shan included participants in a trail run that was officially cancelled at 6am on Sunday due to the cold weather. Runners trapped in the wild were instructed to identify their location for helicopter rescue.

Helicopters from the Government Flying Service briefly halted their rescue operation between 12:30pm and 2:00pm due to icing on equipment.

About 135 people, presumed to be hikers and frost watchers, had once requested for help, but later found their ways down to safety on their own.

In total 191 firemen have been deployed on Sunday.

Unprecedentedly, the Education Bureau on late Sunday announced all classes at primary schools, kindergartens and special schools will be canceled on Jan 25 due to "unusual weather conditions".

Secondary school classes will carry on as usual, but schools were urged in a statement to cancel outdoor activities.

Major teachers’ unions have also called for the same move in light of the winter chill.

The Observatory is expecting more showers tomorrow night as the mercury hovers around three degrees Celsius.

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