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January 25, 2016

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Shanghai to remain gripped by icy chill until Wednesday

ICY winds pushed the mercury down to minus 8.5 degrees Celsius in suburban Chongming County yesterday, while the official low at the monitoring center in Xujiahui was minus 7.2 degrees, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said.

The bureau maintained its orange-level alert for frost and blue alert for cold, saying the latest cold snap is likely to linger through tomorrow.

A blue-level gale alert was lifted at 7:20pm last night after winds dropped. That means there should be less of a wind chill today, though the low will still be about minus 6, with a high of no more than 1 degree, forecasters said.

Tomorrow will be much the same, but Wednesday will be noticeably warmer with a low of 2 degrees and a high of 7.

By Thursday and Friday, the top temperature will be a balmy 10 degrees, the bureau said.

The downside of the less blustery conditions is that air pollution is likely to worsen tomorrow and Wednesday, with the latter also seeing the arrival of a new bank of rain, which is forecast to linger until Friday.

Yesterday’s icy temperatures played havoc with the city’s water supply network. As of noon, authorities had received more than 5,000 reports of frozen pipes, more than any other day on record, an official told Shanghai Daily.

The big freeze led to the supply to some residential complexes being cut off completely.

The Shanghai Medical Emergency Center said it was also busy over the weekend, receiving about 5,000 calls on each of Saturday and yesterday, which is about 10 percent more than normal.

Meanwhile, the annual Spring Festival travel rush, or chunyun, got under way yesterday amid the freezing conditions.

The first train deemed part of the yearly migration left Shanghai Railway Station bound for Nanchong in southwest China’s Sichuan Province at 2am, with 1,146 people on board.

About 11 million people are expected to travel by train into and out of the city over the next 40 days.

Shanghai’s railway stations will be open around the clock until February 7 to ensure passengers have a warm and safe place to wait for their trains, railway officials said.


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