The climate in Zhuhai can be succinctly described as "miserable," though to be completely fair, perhaps a better description would be "mostly miserable."
There are approximately 12 beautiful days throughout the year. Beautiful here, meaning pleasant temperature, pleasant breeze, not too humid, and blue skies. These days are scattered throughout the year and are rarely back to back.
No, most of the time Zhuhai is humid. That's the biggest difference a Minnesotan might notice about the climate here. Here's a look at the average relative humidity:
This is a chart of averages which means that there are many days, especially during the summer months, when the humidity is in the 90% range.
To be fair, Minnesota is pretty humid too.
Yet, when overlaying Minnesota's average humidity overtop Zhuhai's the gap is a little more noticeable.
Humidity on it's own can be annoying, but it's the combination of humidity and heat or humidity and rain which really work to make life outside uncomfortable.
The average temperature in Zhuhai is over 70 degrees Fahrenheit for nine out of the 12 months and over 80 for half of the year. The temperature only dips below 60 degrees Fahrenheit for a few months.
This is one area which is vastly different from Minnesota, though that's to be expected since Minnesota is 44 degrees North, latitudinally speaking, whereas Zhuhai is only about 22 degrees North.
In Minnesota, rain storms come and go. They race in and fly out. An afternoon thunderstorm provides occasional variety and spectacle. Storms are fun. Sometimes.
In Zhuhai, rain is a season all to itself. Storms are lazy. They settle in and stay for a while, like unwelcome houseguests who wipe their oily potato chip stained fingers on the undersides of the couch cushion when no one is watching.
Of course, more rainy days means more rain and Zhuhai dominates Minnesota when it comes to rainfall. Average yearly rainfall across Minnesota ranges from 18 to 32 inches. Not bad for the land of 10,000 lakes. Zhuhai averages 8800 millimeters of rain over the course of a year. That's approximately 346 inches of rain or 28 feet of rain.
It's tempting to describe Zhuhai as a lovely, sunny, tropical place, because... well, it is, but it turns out that it's not quite as sunny as Minnesota.
According to these charts, Minnesota, on average, maintains a steady growth and decline on the number of sunny hours, and never really drops below 100 hours of sun during a month. Zhuhai, on the other hand, has a bit more of an erratic sun schedule.
The charts aren't on the same scale, but if they were, they'd look something like this:
It turns out that Minnesota is a lot sunnier than Zhuhai is. Obviously the amount of rain and humidity play into this number quite a bit, the consistency of the Minnesota line is also an indication of the longer summer days experienced by people farther from the equator.
I've spent most of my life in Minnesota so I know the climate well and it's what I think about when I think about "normal" weather. It's been fun living in Zhuhai and experiencing a different part of the world, but the climate doesn't have the variety I'm used to.
Most days are so hot and humid, stepping out of an airconditioned room will drench you from a combination of condensation and sweat. On days when it's raining, well, prepare to be soaked.
It's difficult to stay dry here. I run my bedroom airconditioning not just because I'm hot, but because I want my room to stay dry and I don't want my clothing to mold. When washing my clothes I put my wet clothes on hangers, hang them from the shower curtain bar and run my dehumidifier overnight to ensure everything dries.
No one has clothes driers, few people even have heating units. Students have shown up late to class with the excuse they were using a blow drier to dry their pants so they could get dressed. And you know it's totally legitimate.
Living here has given me a new appreciation for not only the weather back home, but many of the expectations I take for granted. The ability to be dry and stay warm being two of the chief ones. I will miss my time in this Southern climate, but I am excited to be heading back to Minnesota.
Note: A big thanks to www.weather-and-climate.com for these little graphs. When I searched for Zhuhai the closest information they could give me was from Hong Kong, but that is literally just across the bay from me and climate is pretty similar.