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April 15, 2010

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April showers mix with hail, sleet

NOT merely April rain, but hail and sleet hit the city yesterday.

The particles fell on the downtown area, Pudong, Chongming Island and Baoshan District as the temperature fell to around 5 degrees Celsius last night.

The hail and sleet unexpectedly began to fall around noon and was to continue until midnight.

An earlier forecast said only that it would rain yesterday and the temperature dip to 6 degrees.

Winter-like weather in April has been unusual for Shanghai over the past 10 years, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. There hasn't been snow in April since the 1980s, and then on only two days.

Tang Xu, director of the meteorological bureau, attributed the chilly weather to frequent cold fronts from the north. The average temperature of the first 10 days of April this year was 3.8 degrees lower than that of the last five years.

Strangely, April has been colder than early March. The first half of March was 5.7 degrees higher than the previous five-year average, according to Tang.

The rain is forecast to stop today, though the temperature will stay low - between 5 and 10 degrees, similar to yesterday's high of 10 degrees.

And it should turn sunny tomorrow, with the temperature finally climbing and expected to reach as high as 19 degrees on the weekend.

Just as with the hail and sleet and low temperatures, the city has seen abnormal amounts of rainfall and swooping temperature fluctuations this spring.

Tang said there were 11 rainy days in the city last month, creating a rainfall record of 163.4 millimeters.

Besides affecting Shanghai, the rain brought floods to lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

However, local vegetable prices didn't rise yesterday.

At Shanghai Agricultural Products Center Wholesale Market, prices of common vegetables like celery, carrot and lettuce were the same yesterday as Tuesday.

However, the price was higher than the same period last year, when it was warmer. For instance, eggplant averaged 6.2 yuan (91 US cents) per kilogram on April 14 last year. It was selling at 7.5 yuan per kilogram yesterday.


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