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March 5, 2012

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Longest stretch of gray days in 32 years ... and more to come

TOMORROW should be a rain-free day, but the showers that have persisted for weeks will then return, forecasters said yesterday.

Shanghai's weather has been dominated by thick cloud and showers since February 5, and gray skies will continue for at least another five days, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Even though the seasons are in transition, such a long spell of overcast weather is unusual, said Kong Chunyan, a chief service officer of the bureau.

The last time the city had such a prolonged period of overcast weather was in 1980, Kong said.

Temperatures this week should be as stable as the weather - with the high remaining between 8 and 11 degrees Celsius.

The low should drop to around 4 degrees later in the week, due to a weak cold front.

Today is forecast overcast with rain and a high of 9 degrees.

While no rain is forecast for tomorrow, it should still be overcast, with a low of 6 degrees and a high of 11.

Today is jingzhe - the waking of insects - one of the 24 solar terms in the Chinese lunar calendar. jingzhe indicates the weather is getting warmer.

The city is finally expected to see the sun again at the weekend, Kong said.

Last month, the amount of sunshine in Shanghai was 47 hours less than average.

In the second half of the month, Shanghai enjoyed sunshine for less than five hours - the lowest figure for the period since 1972, the observatory reported.

Health professionals say levels of depression have increased during the gloomy weather.

According to the Shanghai Mental Health Consultation Center, the number of patients calling for consultation has doubled in recent weeks.

Online, fed up residents have bemoaned the lack of sunshine.

"My body is getting mildewed," complained one web user on a social network site, while another admitted that "cloud and rain make me depressed."

In order to keep spirits high during gloomy weather, some experts advised locals to wear more colorful clothes while going out and add more warm lights at home.


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