Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pinoys caught off-guard by historic drop in HK temperature

HONG KONG — The historic drop in temperatures here has forced many Filipinos to cancel their activities and stay home rather than brave the freezing weather outside.
Fely Ovejera, 62, who has been working as a domestic helper for about 20 years, said this is the chilliest winter she has experienced in the territory.  Ovejera lives in her employer's house in Sha Tin, part of the New Territories in Hong Kong.
"Dati naranasan din namin ang 5 degrees [Celsius] pero sandali lang iyon at gabi o madaling araw lang. Noong Linggo, nasa 3.2 degrees [Celsius] lang dito tapos buong maghapon pa," she told GMA News Online in a telephone interview.
Owing to the cold, she said she told her employer that she would spend her rest day at home instead of meeting her friends in public parks as was her practice every Sunday.
"Dito sa bahay, naka-bonnet ako, naka-jacket at scarf pa. Naka-prepare naman ang mga gamit. Ang mga amo ko nga nagamit na din nila pang full winter clothes nila na dati nakatago lang," she said.
Caught by surprise
Katrina, a 31-year old editor at an events company in Central, said she did not pay attention to the warnings issued by the Hong Kong Observatory about the unusual freezing weather in the city. She has been working in Hong Kong since 2011.
"I didn't prepare at all. In-underestimate ko iyong warning ng HKO so I ended up doing last-minute preparations - I bought a new heater, I stocked up on food and water in case it gets too cold for me to buy outside," she said.
"I also brought out additional blankets and warmers," Katrina added.
On Sunday, when temperatures in the main island of Hong Kong dropped to below 4 degrees Celsius, she said she canceled her weekend appointment.
Thoughtful employer
Meanwhile, Ayrin Simbre, a 38-year-old domestic worker who lives in her employer's house in Chai Wan, said she was lucky to have a caring employer who would always update her about the weather conditions and warnings issued by the HKO.
"Nilabas ko lahat ng damit ko na makakapal at saka kumakain ako ng tama para di ako lamigin," she said in an email interview.
"Tapos updated ako ni amo sa weather kaya alam ko kung gaano at anong klaseng damit ang isusuot ko," Simbre added.
She said she did not need to buy more jackets as her employers and their children would often give her winter outfits.
"Dumating anak ni lola na pangalawa kahapon, may dala pa siyang sweater para daw isuot ko paglabas ko kasi super lamig at binigyan din ako ng adhesive heat pad. "More than enough na bigay sa akin ng mga amo ko...Napakabait nila sa akin," she said.
Simbre said she was still able to go out on Sunday and meet up with some of her friends.
Record-level low
A cold spell hit the city on Sunday as temperatures dropped to their chilliest in almost six decades, prompting authorities to warn residents against staying out too long in the cold.
"As Hong Kong is being affected by a cold winter monsoon, people are advised to put on warm clothes and to avoid adverse health effects due to the cold weather," the HKO in its official app said.
"If you must go out, please avoid prolonged exposure to wintry winds," it added.
A "frost warning" was also issued, advising farmers  that "ground frost is likely to occur overnight on high ground or in the northern part of the New Territories."
The nine-day forecast of the HKO is unlikely to bring relief as temperatures are estimated to range between 7 degrees celsius and 19 degrees celsius with several days of thunderstorms and heavy rains. —KBK, GMA News

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