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October 6, 2013

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Gales and torrential rain on the way

TYPHOON Fitow is set to bring gales and torrential rain to Shanghai today and tomorrow, forecasters said yesterday.

The city has suspended sales of bullet train tickets to several cities, canceled flights and postponed a firework display, and the Shanghai Rolex Masters tennis tournament faces disruption.

High winds and downpours are expected to reach their peak tonight, said Fu Yi, a chief service officer of the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Temperatures should range between 22 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees today and tomorrow, according to the bureau.

Tuesday is predicted to be overcast with more rain.

The level of the Huangpu River is already set to exceed the alert level due to tidal influences, and the situation will be made more severe by rain brought by the typhoon, local flood control authorities said.

Officials have been ordered to take every precaution to minimize the impact.

China’s meteorological authority yesterday issued a red alert, the highest in its four-tier weather warning system, for Fitow, named after a flower from Micronesia.

The center of Fitow was about 590 kilometers southeast of Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province at last night, approaching Zhejiang and Fujian provinces at a speed of 18 kilometers per hour.

It is expected to make landfall between Wenling in Zhejiang and Xiapu in Fujian sometime tonight or tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, a tropical storm — given the name Danas — has formed and may affect the path of Fitow, said meteorologists.

However, it should have no influence on China for at least the next three days, they added.

A fireworks display scheduled for tonight at the Century Park in Pudong New Area has been postponed until Tuesday, the Shanghai Tourism Administration said yesterday. The pyrotechnics are to mark the end of the Shanghai Tourism Festival.

The city administration has ordered local travel agencies to closely monitor the path of the typhoon, adjusting tour routes and schedules as required.

If necessary, outdoor scenic spots should be shut and visitors evacuated, said officials.

The Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center has canceled tours to Putuo Mountain today, with around 80 people affected.

Rail and air links have also been hit.

The Shanghai Railway Bureau has suspended tickets sales for services tomorrow from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province, and Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian Province.

China Eastern Airlines yesterday canceled two flights between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Okinawa in Japan, and warned that more flights may be affected by Fitow.

Sport is unlikely to escape disruption either. Organizers of Shanghai Rolex Masters tennis tournament, scheduled to start today, said some matches will probably be delayed by the weather.

The city Metro operator has been checking its flood prevention measures and said it will limit the number of passengers and lower the speed of trains should flooding occur.

Traffic was heavier on local expressways yesterday as some Shanghai residents who left the city during the National Day holiday week — which ends tomorrow — returned home early to avoid being caught by Fitow.


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