Flora of Kwangtung and Hongkong/Climate

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Climate.—The province is more than half within the tropics and is characterised for the greater part of the year by hot damp weather, during which periods of strong sunshine alternate with downpours of warm torrential rain amounting to some 70 inches in all. The south-west monsoon, in which these conditions prevail, breaks upon the coast rather suddenly about April and continues to blow with more or less regularity for six or seven months, gradually failing in October or November, to give place to the winter monsoon from the opposite point of the compass. The long succession of rainstorms and the usually cloud-laden sky are then succeeded as a rule by several months of cool weather accompanied by clear pale blue skies and a complete absence of rain. The smaller streams gradually dry up and the grass hills assume their winter colouring of pale brown.

Though the winters are pleasantly cool, frosts are of very rare occurrence, except on the highest ground. Even there they are infrequent and of short duration.

The succession of extremes of wet and dry weather naturally exerts a profound influence on the vegetation, but quite as important in this respect are doubtless the periodical visits of typhoons to which the coastal regions are liable at all times, but especially during the late summer. These brief but extraordinarily violent storms play great havoc with all kinds of vegetation and their occurrence explains some of the peculiar characters of the flora of the coast of Kwangtung.