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June 18, 2015

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Bad weather forces airports to cancel hundreds of flights

MORE than 1,000 Shanghai households were affected by flooding yesterday as torrential rain battered the city since early morning.

Some 80 roads had water up to 30 centimeters deep and 45 underpasses were flooded, the city’s flood control and prevention authorities said.

Police said they had up to 50 percent more officers on duty during morning rush hour, with the number of accidents more than double the average.

At the city’s two airports, hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed during the morning because of the weather.

Malu in Jiading District recorded the heaviest rainfall of 244 millimeters yesterday, followed by Baoshan District and the Pudong New Area with 161 and 125 millimeters respectively.

“Some northern districts suffered more damage during the rainstorm because the rain belt was mainly above the city’s north side,” said Man Liping, a chief service officer at the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

“It’s not a rare phenomenon. In our weather history, there were some similar heavy storms during the plum rain season.”

Three bridges crossing Hongkou District’s Shajinggang Creek were at the risk of being washed away, and the district government sent several trucks to park on the bridges to keep them in place.

“We arrived here about 3am. The water was overflowing the bridges,” a worker at the Hailun Road Bridge said yesterday.

“We are now draining water from streets and residential areas into the river, which connects to the Huangpu River.”

The northern part of Hongkou recorded 230 millimeters of rainfall from 9am on Tuesday to 8am yesterday.

The district government said that a new sluice that connects waterways in Hongkou with the Huangpu River was partly in operation but not yet fully effective.

Some 80 residential complexes in the district were flooded. One resident said the water in her neighbors’ first-floor home was waist-deep at one point.

In Jiading District, several roads were closed to traffic for safety reasons and 32 of the district’s schools and kindergartens were closed.

Flooding in most roads, residential complexes and underpasses had been drained by 12:14pm, authorities said.

Almost all the city’s major roads in the city were said to be congested during morning rush hour.

“I usually spend about 30 minutes to drive from home to work on Siping Road, but the 6 kilometers took me more than 90 minutes today,” said Shadow Yin, an HR consultant who lives in Baoshan District.

Commuter David Liu said he had started to walk to work after waiting almost half an hour with no sign of a bus.

“In the end I spent an hour walking to the company,” he said, adding that he had to stop to seek shelter several times during his journey.

Zhang Nan, an office worker who lives in Putuo District, said she was stuck on Tongpu Road near the Middle Ring Road in her car for two hours yesterday morning just a few hundred meters from home.

“I set off at 8am and decided to go home two hours later because I was really frustrated,” she said.

Eventually, at noon, she managed to set off for work.

Almost 500 flights were canceled and 270 delayed at Shanghai’s two airports due to yesterday morning’s rain.

Air traffic capacity at Pudong and Hongqiao was cut in half between 9:30am and 12pm.

The thunder and rain made takeoff and landing difficult, air traffic control said.

Hongqiao canceled some 280 flights with another 120 delayed. Pudong canceled about 200 flights with 150 delayed.

China Eastern and Shanghai airlines canceled over 60 flights in the morning due to the rain and allowed passengers to change flights or get their money back.

Delays were not alleviated until 3pm when capacity was still cut by 30 percent.

Strong rainstorms can cause turbulence that could damage aircraft, the airport authority said, while thunder may cause electrical malfunctions.

The speed of trains on Metro Line 7 was cut because of flooding on parts of the track.

The stations affected, all in Baoshan District, were Gucun Park, Qihua Road and Shanghai University. Normal services had resumed at 1pm, Shanghai Metro said.

The Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said it sent about 20,000 sanitation workers to clear garbage that was blocking drains yesterday.

Since Tuesday night, the city’s fire department said it had dealt with more than 200 calls about flooding.

Weather forecasters said the rain should begin to leave the city this afternoon as the belt moves south.

The city should enjoy pleasant clear days until Sunday, according to the weather bureau, but a new round of rain is then expected to last until Friday.


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