Hong Kong winters are said to be even worse than that in cold countries, and many believe “damp cold” to be the culprit. A popular Cantonese saying goes “Hong Kong’s damp cold is the worst in the world” (香港濕凍世界第一). It comes from the belief that, as opposed to “damp cold”, “dry cold” — as in the crisp, refreshing cold air often felt in Japan and Europe — is much more bearable even though the actual temperature in Hong Kong is not as low.
Many in Hong Kong share the strongly-held belief that a higher level of humidity makes it feel much colder than it is. But the Hong Kong Observatory has disputed this notion. Moist air actually holds heat more effectively than dry air. This is mainly why Hong Kong’s humid summers are so unbearable.
When it comes to how cold you feel, the biggest factor is the wind chill effect, says the HKO. Wind carries heat away from the body very effectively, and the more windy it is, the colder you’ll feel. Hong Kong’s streets are often lined with tall buildings on either side, which creates an air channel where air flows even faster. That could be one reason why people feel very cold outside in Hong Kong. And, of course, the lack of heating indoors also plays a major role as to why winters here are particularly rough.
So, while Hongkongers love to blame everything on humidity, that is simply not the case here. Thankfully, the worst of winters only last until February here, after which we can start complaining about spring and summer.