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February 11, 2014

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Home » Metro » Environment

Snow puts on a show as spring must wait

Shanghai experienced snow and sleet yesterday with temperatures dropping more than expected, plunging below freezing point in most districts.

The low temperatures meant a rise in the number of homeless people seeking refuge in the city’s shelters.

The benchmark Xujiahui weather station recorded a low of minus 1.2 degrees yesterday, while minus 2.6 degrees was recorded in Chongming County.

An end to the snow is expected today, with the mercury rising by 3 degrees Celsius.

The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said the snow melted soon after it fell due to relatively high surface temperatures and accompanying rain.

Today’s low is forecast to climb up slightly to minus 1 degree with a high of 5 degrees expected. Tomorrow, temperatures will hover between 3 and 7 degrees and there will be some drizzle. Thursday will remain wet with the mercury ranging between 4 to 8 degrees.

The rain is forecast to stop on Friday and temperatures will be 10 degrees or more.

As the city shivered, the Shanghai Rescue Station said it was caring for about 80 homeless people, 10 more than usual. Most were migrant workers or beggars. Shelters in Zhabei and Yangpu districts sent the largest number of homeless to the station, an official said.

The homeless usually stay overnight at shelters at district or county level and then are sent to the city’s rescue station the next day, where they are given train tickets to their hometowns. The station, in Huangpu District, can accommodate up to 200 people. 

Between December 1 and Sunday, the city’s shelters received 4,880 people, the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said yesterday. Some 33 homeless people were accommodated on Sunday night.

Shelters have been stepping up patrols at stations, ports, underground passages and bridges to offer shelter to the homeless or provide necessities for those who refuse to go to shelters.

The city government has ordered shelters to step up patrols at night particularly watching out for mental patients and senior dementia patients and to encourage residents to report to rescue stations if they see homeless people on the streets.

Yesterday’s wintry conditions led to an improvement in air quality with the concentration of PM2.5 particles mostly staying below 36 micrograms per cubic meter and a high of just 40 at 5pm.

The good air is expected to continue today with the air quality index in the 40 to 65 range, the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center said.

The arrival of meteorological spring is still a long way off.

“After the solar term lichun, or start of spring (February 4 this year), there needs to be five consecutive days where the average temperatures is at 10 degrees or above before the meteorological spring can be announced,” said Man Liping, the chief service officer at the Shanghai weather bureau.



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