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City mops up after the rain

WE'RE counting down to the end of the gloomy weather. The clouds are finally expected to dry up late on Friday. The two weeks of rainy and overcast days, however, have dampened everyone's mood, as well as effected the city's flora and crops. Cabbies, alas, may be the only ones who smile when it rains.

Today and tomorrow intermittent drizzle will continue to fall, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. Even when the rain stops on Friday, the sky will remain overcast for a couple of days.

The temperature will not change much. Highs will range between 10 and 11 degrees Celsius, with lows of 5 to 8 degrees, forecasters said.

February's rainfall was more than twice the usual amount.


The city's magnolia flowers will bloom later this year because of the rain. Usually, magnolia blooms in late February, but this year the flowers are not expected until mid-March.

Flowers that usually bloom in late March, such as cherry blossom, tulips and peony, may also bloom later than usual.

"If the sunshine is adequate in March, the flower may bloom on time - even ahead of time," said Wang Yuqin, from the Shanghai Botanical Garden. "Otherwise, the blossom will also be delayed."

Plum blossom has suffered the most from the rain, according to Wang.

"The plum tree's budding season coincided with the rainy period, unfortunately," said Wang. "A thunderstorm also struck in the middle of February, damaging many buds."

(Lu Feiran)


The No. 6 Branch of the Dazhong Taxi Co said its 938 taxis reported an average 7.74 percent growth in income during the last two weeks of February, compared to the previous two weeks. That's 64 yuan (US$9.35) more cash per day for each cab, said Wang Xiang, a company official.

Each taxi took an average of 39.18 fares each day during the last two weeks of last month, compared to 36.72 during the previous two weeks, Wang said.

"The increase may be small in number but is substantial enough to point out a trend of rising business volume," Wang said.

Shen Lu, a Dazhong cabbie, told Shanghai Daily that during the past two weeks more people were using taxis during the daytime and the number of long-distance rides had also been on the rise.

(Dong Zhen)


When it's gloomy outside, taking the time to listen to music, take exercise and chat with friends can help brighten your mood.

Some local hospitals reported a slight increase in recent weeks in the number of people suffering from depression and mood swings.

Zhongshan Hospital has been receiving 70 to 80 patients every day since February, 10 percent higher than usual.

"A hormone called melatonin is related to light exposure. The dim and rainy weather can impact its secretion and influence a person's sleep and life circle, causing mood disorders," said Shi Yijue from Ruijin Hospital's department of clinical psychology.

Doctors said people can manage minor mood swings by improving their work-life balance and living healthier lifestyles.

(Cai Wenjun)


The rain may cause a decrease in the output of agricultural products this year, experts predict.

Because of the warm weather in early February, many farmers planted watermelon seedlings. But the tender seedlings suffered because of the low temperatures and shortage of sunshine in the second half of February.

"Watermelon seedlings are likely to grow slowly and die from a disease caused by fungus during rainy periods without much light," said Gu Weihong, an expert at the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Fruit experts also predicted watermelons may not taste as sweet as other years this summer due to the weather.

Wheat and rape crops will also be less bountiful. The high humidity will starve their roots of oxygen, which slows growth, experts said.

(Xu Fang)


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