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July 27, 2011

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Sauna weather ... and 'hailstorm'

SAUNA weather is expected to last into next month, Shanghai weather forecasters said yesterday.

Scorching sun saw the mercury almost reach 38 degrees Celsius yesterday, making it the 13th "high temperature day" - when readings reach 35 degrees - this year.

This was achieved even though many residents reported a "hailstorm" for a brief period.

Temperatures should stay at 35 degrees or higher this week, as the city is in its hottest period of the year, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Besides the burning sun, thundershowers are likely to occur in the afternoons, which could cool the city to some extent.

Today is forecast cloudy with thundershowers in areas and a high of 37 degrees.

Tomorrow should be sunny to cloudy with a high of 36 degrees and a low of 28.

Yesterday's high was 37.9 degrees, the second highest temperature recorded this year. The readings climbed quickly in the morning, prompting the bureau to issue an orange heat alert - the second highest of the three-scale system - at 9:50am.

But what surprised many locals was the hail-like conditions for about three minutes in the afternoon.

"It couldn't possibly be snow," said Man Liping, a chief service officer of the bureau. "Crystallization could not exist under such heat and reach the ground."

As the phenomenon lasted only a short while and there was no observing station nearby, the bureau could not provide a conclusive answer.

"Having looked at photographs, it appears more like big drops of rain," Man added.

But Man did not rule out the possibility of hail, "Hail is not rare at this time of year."


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