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July 7, 2020

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Flooded streets, traffic congestion as heavy rains pound Shanghai

Heavy rains lashed Shanghai yesterday, causing flooding on local streets and heavy traffic congestion during morning commuting hours.

The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau upgraded its blue rainstorm alert to yellow — the third-highest level in its four-color system — at 10:05am, warning that rainfall could reach 80 millimeters in the following six hours.

Meanwhile, Shanghai’s flood prevention office also raised its emergency response level from four to three at 10:05am due to heavy precipitation.

Data from the weather bureau show that by 1pm, Dongping Town in Chongming District witnessed the highest precipitation, recording 195.7 millimeters of rain. The highest hourly rainfall occurred in a subdistrict in the Caoyang area of Putuo District, which was 69.8mm.

Mobile pump trucks were mobilized to deal with the flooding.

Ten of the city’s underpasses had water levels above 25 centimeters yesterday morning. Those affected were located in Jiading, Minhang and Jing’an districts. The underpasses were temporarily closed to traffic as emergency crews arrived to drain the water. By noon, the underpasses had reopened as the rain subsided.

Public bus services were also affected by the downpour, including those running mainly in Putuo and Jiading districts, such as Line Nos. 136, 105 and 63.

According to Jiushi Bus Group, compared with traditional fuel vehicles, new energy buses have stricter water-level limit to ensure safety of electrical devices.

Drivers are required to guide passengers and nearby scooters after shutting down the bus midway. Some lines also have to change routes to avoid water-logged areas.

Safety inspections of buses were made in advance to ensure the normal operation of lights, windshield wipers, etc. Emergency supplies, including medical kits, were also provided at terminal stations.

“Good maintenance of our buses is very important, especially during the flood season. We will try our best to drive students to exams on time,” said a spokesman of Jiushi Bus Group, referring to the national college entrance examination, which starts today.

The Changxing Island countryside park in Chongming was forced to close yesterday.

Continuous rainfall led to flooding inside the park, causing muddy and slippery roads which pose potential safety hazards, its operator said.

Shanghai’s 27,000 sanitation workers have been stepping up road cleaning and increasing the frequency of clearing fallen leaves on about 860 roads vulnerable to flooding, the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said yesterday.

Inspections of outdoor advertisement billboards, signages and landscape lighting facilities across the city have also been conducted, and about 210,000 safety notices have been issued, the bureau said. All safety hazards found during inspections have been rectified so far, it added.

Trees with potential safety hazards have had their branches cut or fixed before the rainstorms to eliminate safety concerns.

The heavy rains are expected to give way to a mix of overcast and rainy skies by mid-week, with occasional thunderstorms.

Temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius will return from tomorrow, with muggy weather predicted to last into the weekend, forecasters said.

Students taking gaokao, the national college entrance exam — with written tests today and tomorrow and a listening test on Thursday — are advised to prepare for heat and bad weather.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the exam was delayed for a month. This is the largest collective activity in China since the outbreak and it is the first time that the exam will be held in July since 2003.

The weather bureau will release detailed weather forecast for four time periods — 6am to 9am, 9am to 1pm, 1pm to 5pm, and 5pm to 8pm — at 5:30am on each test day and update it at 11am and 4pm.

Residents can check the latest weather forecast on the bureau’s official website, the official Weibo account and its mobile app.

And it’s the first time the bureau will report the weather for each of the city’s 16 districts, respectively, during gaokao, said Geng Fuhai, a weather bureau official.

The students are advised to arrive at the examination sites with umbrellas at least 45 minutes in advance and choose suitable traffic routes due to the bad weather, according to the city’s education commission.

“The subtropical high pressure this summer is much stronger and the warm moisture continues to send moist air to southern China, which is causing more rain than before,” said Zhu Jiehua, an official of the city’s meteorological bureau. “The cold air from the north keeps flowing southwards and conflicts with the warm air, leading to rainfall.”

It has been 29 days since the city entered the plum rain season on June 9, which means this year’s plum rain season is longer than the average 23 days.

Zhu could not give an exact date for when the plum rain season would end.

So far this summer, many regions in China have received torrential rains, with some areas experiencing serious flooding.

By Friday last week, the National Meteorological Center had issued national rainstorm alerts for 31 consecutive days — for the first time in the past decade.


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