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March 2, 2012

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A foggy weekend but rain will help to wash it away

DENSE fog is expected to shroud Shanghai over the weekend, especially in port areas, under the influence of intensified warm and wet currents from the south, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

But the fog should not be as bad as yesterday's with more rain forecast, said Zhang Ruiyi, the bureau's chief service officer.

"The fog should improve when the rain gets heavier," Zhang said. "But due to the wet weather conditions visibility these days should not be good."

Yesterday morning's intense fog affected highway and port traffic.

The weather bureau issued a yellow alert at 7:45am and motorists were warned to drive carefully on elevated roads and highways. The alert was lifted at 12:51pm.

Yangshan Deep-Water Port said the fog disrupted shipping and ferries to neighboring cities were canceled. More than 80 ships suspended their schedules at Waigaoqiao and Yangshan, the city's two major harbors handling international vessels and container ships. However, conditions at Yangshan had improved by noon.

Ferry services to Shanghai's islands were also canceled.

The deep-water navigation channel at the mouth of Yangtze River, the gateway for large ships to inland ports, had to be closed because of the fog, officials said.Maritime officials said the situation was expected to improve today.

Shanghai's two airports were relatively unaffected compared to last week when nearly 1,000 flights were canceled or delayed on February 22. Most flights took off and landed on time although some, including flights to Beijing and Japan, experienced short delays.

Overcast and rainy conditions are expected to last into next week, Zhang said.

Temperatures will be between 6 and 9 degrees Celsius today and tomorrow due to a cold front but should climb to 10 degrees on Sunday.

Rainfall in February was nearly 20 percent higher than average, the bureau said. Precipitation last month reached 73.3 millimeters compared to the average of 62.1.

There were 18 rainy days in February while the average for the past 30 years was 10, the bureau said.

Temperatures last month were below average at 4.7 degrees compared to 6.3 but this month should see a rise to 10 degrees.


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