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November 3, 2009

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Chill hits, but temps should soon rise

THE cold front that gusted strong winds through the city since Sunday caused ships and ferries to suspend their schedules, brought down trees and sent people to hospitals.

In the earliest strong cold front in the city this decade, 22 elderly people were sent to emergency wards for getting cold yesterday, according to Ruijin Hospital.

Shanghai Children's Medical Center said it received 4,200 patients yesterday and most suffered cold and fever.

In Pudong, a couple on Sunday was hit by scaffolding that was blown off a wall, knocking the wife unconscious and putting her in the hospital, where she remained in critical condition last night. The husband suffered breaks and bruises.

Yet the weatherman says the temperatures will begin to bounce back this afternoon. The word from the weather bureau: The cold "comes fast and goes fast."

The maximum temperature will rise to 20 degrees Celsius tomorrow, climbing to 26 degrees Celsius on Friday, according to Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

And despite the early chill, the bureau said the coming winter should not be too cold. The average temperature is expected to be higher than last year.

The bureau issued two blue alerts yesterday morning, one for Cold Wave and the other for Gale, both the lowest of the four-level systems, reflecting a temperature drop of 8 degrees Celsius in 48 hours and a wind gust of at least 40 meters per second.

The alerts would be relieved today, the bureau said.

"The strong cold front was caused by a large amount of cold air accumulating above the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere," explained Han Chang, chief service officer of the bureau.

"We are still researching the reason for the early accumulation," Han said.

Most ferry routes were still out by late yesterday afternoon because of heavy wind.


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