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December 3, 2010

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Fog disrupts transportation

Fog enveloped the city and severely disrupted traffic early yesterday morning, but the temperature rose rapidly as the day wore on, reaching nearly 20 degrees Celsius, weatherman said.

Continuous foggy days have given rise to more respiratory disease symptoms among locals, doctors said yesterday.

The heavy fog started on Wednesday evening and led to the bureau issuing a yellow fog alert.

More than 25,000 passengers have been affected since Wednesday, with flights delayed or canceled at Pudong International Airport.

More than 10 international flights were redirected to Hongqiao International Airport yesterday for landing.

Water traffic was also affected as fog shrouded the mouth of the Yangtze River. Ferry services to Chongming Island were halted Wednesday and did not resume until 11am yesterday.

More than 100 vessels were delayed entering or leaving city ports yesterday as navigation channels were closed.

At Waigaoqiao Port, the city's major gateway for shipping, swarms of ships left yesterday at 10am as the fog lifted. The port emptied within an hour, said port authorities.

The fog lifted early yesterday after the sun came out and the yellow alert was lifted at 5:15am, the bureau said.

Foggy weather should not occur today due to a new cold front arriving, but it could return on Sunday, said Li Jinyu, a chief service officer at the bureau.

Temperatures rose quickly yesterday and hit 19.6 degrees Celsius in the afternoon, which is unusually high for December, weatherman said. The last time the high was around 20 degrees in December was almost two years ago, at 20.5 degrees in 2008.

However, the warm weather should not last long as the next cold front is arriving in town today, bringing a low of 8 degrees. It is to be colder tomorrow with a low of 7 in urban areas and 5 in the suburbs.

Medical experts have advised people, especially children, the elderly and those with respiratory and cardiac conditions, to take extra care during foggy weather and be mindful of the frequent fluctuations in temperature.

The number of children with asthma and other severe respiratory problems admitted to hospital doubled in some areas.

The Shanghai Children's Medical Center received over 3,800 outpatients yesterday. About 65 percent of them children with respiratory problems.

"The period of late autumn and early winter is always the peak season for diseases like cold, fever and allergic diseases," said Xia Lin, an official with the center.


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