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Thunderstorms pound city, Metro services disrupted

A SEVERE thunderstorm pounded Shanghai yesterday evening, knocking out the city’s Metro network, flooding key roads, and prompting a red alert — the first this year.

The red rainstorm alert is the highest of the four-level warning system.

Heavy rains, accompanied by thunder clouds, lightning and strong winds buried the city late in the afternoon, leading to a massive traffic snarl.

Chaos reigned as the evening rush hour traffic on the busy Metro Line 2 was suspended after flood waters made its way into the tunnel.

Services between People’s Square and Shanghai Science and Technology Museum stations were brought to a halt around 6:30pm, adding to the road traffic woes.

In downtown Nanjing Road W. Station, commuters packed two trains — their doors open — on both sides of the platform at around 7pm with no signs of resumption of services.

Hundred others took up every available space on the platforms. Long queues were seen in front of the station’s service center with subway riders seeking a refund before trying their luck with other modes of transport.

The rest of Line 2 — from Xujingdong Station to People’s Square and Guanglan Road Station to Shanghai Science and Technology Museum Station — started operating after 7:15pm.

Subway authorities also tried to limit the number of commuters at several stations and decelerated the speed of trains.

Passengers were told to transfer to Line 4, 7, 8, 9 and 11 to cross the Huangpu River.

Normal services only resumed at 9:30pm last night.

The Metro operator said poor visibility caused by heavy thunderstorm also made things difficult.

A power shortage also affected Line 6 after a foreign object led to a malfunction. Trains between Yunshan Road and Wuzhou Avenue stations were suspended for over two hours.

Metro offers refunds

Affected commuters can claim a refund within the next 7 working days, the Metro authorities said.

Earlier, two yellow alerts for lightning and gale were issued by the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau at 1:35pm. An orange rainstorm alert, which was issued at 4:18pm, was upgraded to red 26 minutes later, indicating over 100-millimeter precipitations.

The Pudong New Area experienced the heaviest precipitation of 137.1 millimeters at 4:50pm, while precipitation in downtown Xujiahui was 67 millimeters at 5:10pm.

About 40 roads in Huangpu, Hongkou, Yangpu districts and the Pudong New Area were flooded by 5:15pm, the Shanghai Flood Control Headquarter said.

The Shanghai Fire Control Bureau said they had received 139 reports of flooding till 7pm.

The strong winds and thunderstorm uprooted a tree which blocked traffic near the Dapu Road Tunnel exit at about 4:40pm. In Songjiang District, an electricity pole caused delays on a section of Beisong Highway.

The heavy rains disrupted the normal operation of about 35 traffic lights throughout the city at 7:40pm, worsening the already jammed roads.

Shanghai Hongqiao Airport reported that 51 flights were delayed due to thunderstorms till about 6:30pm.

Neighboring city Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province was also affected by thunderstorms yesterday, with water reportedly getting into the buses as well.

Today’s high is expected to be around 30 degrees Celsius despite an expected cold front. Splintered rains across the city are also expected today, the weatherman said.

The cold front is likely to be brief with expected high pressure blowing it away tomorrow. It will be followed by sunny and cloudy weather next week, making yesterday’s heavy rain an aberration.

The mercury will hover around 30 degrees next week with lows of 22 to 24 degrees.


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