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June 19, 2012

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City swamped as rain pours down

SHANGHAI experienced its biggest rainfall of the year so far with more than 100 millimeters recorded in the city between Sunday night and yesterday. The rain began on Sunday afternoon, first day of the plum rain season, and increased in intensity during the night.

The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau issued a blue rainstorm alert, lowest of the four-level system, at 5:07pm on Sunday and Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters issued a blue flood alert just five minutes later.

A village in Jinshan District recorded rainfall of 164.4 millimeters over a 24-hour period and a suburban farm was badly hit.

More than 13,000 chickens at the farm were drowned when the water level of a creek at Mudan Village in Jinshan's Zhujing Town rose dramatically during the overnight downpour and water cascaded into the chicken farm owned by a resident surnamed Yu.

Ten of Yu's hen-houses were flooded with water reaching depths of 30 centimeters, Yu told reporters yesterday. He used two pumps to drain the water but he was fighting a losing battle with the rain.

Only a few hundred of his flock survived, Yu said, and he estimated his losses at around 250,000 yuan (US$39,327).

Dozens of sacks of dead chickens were seen at the farm yesterday as district officials arrived to direct clean-up operations and prevent any health problems arising from the huge numbers of dead birds.

Between 8am on Sunday and 8am yesterday, 100.3 millimeters of rain fell in many parts of the city, nearly half the average precipitation the city usually sees duringthe entire plum rain season.

The highest precipitation was recorded in the Haiwan area of suburban Fengxian District at 179.6 millimeters, the flood control headquarters said.

Forecasters had predicted a 20 percent increase in total precipitation this season compared to the average. If that proves to be correct it would mean that 40 percent of the season's rain had fallen on Sunday night.

The rain began to ease yesterday morning and gradually stopped in the afternoon.

Due to the downpour, at least 35 flights suffered delays at the city's two airports. Pudong International Airport said seven of its flights had to land at Hongqiao Airport while one flight was diverted to Beijing when the rain was at its heaviest.

The weather should become stable over the next few days, with mostly drizzle forecast, the bureau said.

Today and tomorrow will be overcast with some drizzle and temperatures this week should range from a low of 22 to a maximum of 27 degrees Celsius.


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