What is the weather like and how to prepare for it

The climate in China is very diverse, which might cause some people to be confused about what to prepare for their stay in China.

For Hangzhou and the surrounding area we want to give some advice because preparation for coming here might not be as simple as you might think!

When you decide to come here, one of the first things to check is the weather of course. You will be told, that the Summer is very hot while the Winter is comparably mild. But don‘t be too sure about anything! We will give you a little overview of the seasons below.

Autumn

When we arrived in China first, in the beginning of September, people said that the Autumn was beginning, instead however this felt more like we were enjoying an extended Summer. The temperatures easily went up to thirty degrees and we had a very clear sky most of time (except for the smog).

At that time, I was mainly wearing short clothes, using sunscreen and wearing a hat, as the sun made me feel dizzy quite often.

One thing you should also be aware of are the typhoons, it is said that they usually occur from August to September but it’s better to check the weather forecast regularly to be prepared. Typhoons are basically storms that bring a lot of rain with them and most of time, they occur when there is warm weather as well.

Weak typhoons are actually quite fun (just go out in swimming clothes, its great fun!) but we should warn you of the stronger ones. The sewage system was not built very well and areas are very likely to be flooded, additionally some paths can be extremely slippery when wet – a little slip can bring you to your knees.

I personally can’t recommend the use of an umbrella, because of the strong wind the rain comes sideways and the umbrella will basically act as a sail. If you have to go through a typhoon, either you should accept the fact that you will be completely soaked or you should bring jackets and bags that are 100% waterproof.

Winter

Compared to Europe, the Winter here in China is very mild, the coldest temperature we experienced here so far was just a little below 0° so not exactly cold for us.

Still, we all agree that the Winter here is quite hard, solely due the fact that the insulation in most buildings is not very good. You will probably want to use the heating in your home to keep yourself warm though. The Electricity here is quite cheap, so even if this heating uses a lot of it, you might consider turning it on for a reasonable amount of time.

When you decide to go outside, you should make sure you keep warm, most rooms in my university for example don’t have any insulation or heating, therefore your extra clothes will come in useful.

One more hint concerning the temperature is to make use of the water boilers that can be found in many places. Just get a thermo flask, maybe fill it with some tea leafs if you like and supply yourself with as much tea as you like for free!

Another issue that is to be mentioned in Winter is the smog, during Winter the smog becomes much worse.

As mentioned before, people turn on their heating due to the cold and this generates a lot of emissions. This is why I suggested to only use the heating for a reasonable amount of time. Of course, nobody wants to feel cold in their home but at the same time we should limit the air pollution caused by energy usage so please don’t use it more than you really need to. Obviously do not jeopardise your health though for the sake of some heating emissions.

A picture taken by Yong at the beginning of the winter in downtown
A picture taken by Yong at the beginning of the winter in down town

Ellis did a lot of research concerning masks, not all of the masks Chinese people wear help against the harmful emissions. The surgical masks for example are often being worn because of sickness not wanting to infect other people, however these masks are useless when it comes to the pollution. Surgical masks are made to filter bacteria from your breath – the harmful particles in the air are a lot smaller and so can’t be filtered with these masks.

http://respro.com/pollution-masks – Is a great place to buy masks for pollutions. Make sure you go for the P2.5 masks for the extensive protection.

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