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February 23, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Fog forces travel delays whether by land, air, sea

THE heaviest fog of the year, which began to shroud the city on Tuesday, continued to play havoc with transportation yesterday - grounding flights at Pudong International Airport and holding traffic at sea and on railways.

Shanghai's airport operator said 298 flights at Pudong were canceled and 440 flights delayed in two days. Another 150 flights were directed to land at nearby airports, mostly at Hongqiao International Airport.

"It's the most severe low-cloud weather since the operation of the Pudong airport," officials at the airport said.

The fog is unlikely to appear again in the near future after this morning with the arrival of dry air brought by a cold front, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. Fu Yi, a chief service officer of the bureau, said the fog was caused mainly by strong humidity from rain and warm air from the east, which should be restrained with the approaching cold front.

The fog is expected to show up again early this morning but should lift before noon, Fu said, adding that "the visibility will be largely improved."

Rainy and overcast weather will return for the weekend, the observatory said. The city's temperature should drop from a high of 10 degrees Celsius today to a low of 5 tomorrow.

The massive delays caused plenty of pain for travelers. Some flights that landed at Hongqiao airport on Tuesday night had to switch to Hongqiao for taking off yesterday.

Some air travelers were stranded for almost a day in the massive snarl.

"What a depressing experience," said a passenger, surnamed Luo, whose flight to Hong Kong was delayed from 7:55am yesterday until late in the afternoon. "We just sit there at the airport and do not get reasonable explanation."

Some passengers got angry and police officers were called to keep order, said Luo.

But there were warmer stories amid the bad weather. Maritime officials at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port said they used a patrol vessel to carry a sick six-month-old baby from Changxing Island to a downtown hospital. The baby's parents turned to the maritime administration for help as fog and haze halted all the ferry services.

Hundreds of ships stayed in ports and postponed their schedules, according to Shanghai Port authorities. Police at the Waigaoqiao port, the main harbor for international ships, said visibility was less than 10 meters in some areas, with the "dock merged into a mist and water."

Meanwhile, train services also reported cancellations and delays yesterday due to fog in northern China. Railway officials said five high-speed trains to Beijing and Tianjin were canceled. Other trains leaving from Hongqiao Railway Station to Beijing reported delays of about an hour. Normal operations resumed by late in the day.


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