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November 16, 2009

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Shivering Shanghai set to chalk up early winter

SHANGHAI may have stepped into its earliest winter for about 10 years, weather experts said yesterday.

Rain, strong winds and low temperatures will prevail in the city this week as the strong cold front from the north continues to make its presence felt, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

The daily average temperature since Friday has not exceeded 10 degrees Celsius and if this trend continues, as predicted, winter will officially be declared tomorrow.

If so, it will be Shanghai's earliest winter since 2000.

Winter usually arrives in early or mid-December.

"This cold front is too fierce, making temperatures plunge dramatically," said bureau forecaster Han Chang.

From today to Friday, the maximum would be below 10 degrees, ranging between 8 to 9, and the extreme minimum may drop to about 3 degrees, the bureau said.

"The extreme low will happen on Wednesday or Thursday morning in the suburbs," said Han. "In the downtown area, the temperature will be 1 to 2 degrees higher - but it will still be chilly."

The year's first snow is expected to fall in the western suburbs tomorrow, but not in the downtown area.

"It's very likely to have both rain and snow then," said Han.

The sun will be seldom seen this week, except for a short period on Wednesday, according to the bureau, with rain or drizzle almost daily.

The rain is forecast to be heaviest today.

The bureau also warned of gales from today until Wednesday.

In downtown areas, wind speeds in this period may be up to 61 kilometers per hour, while that of the Yangtze River mouth will be up to 74kph, according to the bureau.

More than 10 domestic flights were delayed for more than an hour up to yesterday afternoon at Hongqiao International Airport, compared with Friday's 43.

Pudong International Airport, the bigger city terminal, reported about 40 domestic flights delayed yesterday.

Four flights heading to Hong Kong and South Korea were canceled at the Pudong airport but no cancellations were reported by yesterday afternoon at the Hongqiao airport.

About seven trains arriving at Shanghai Railway Station were delayed, said an official, surnamed Liu.

"But the situation is getting better with more tracks restored to service," Liu said.

The city's inter-provincial bus stations canceled about 20 services yesterday, compared with 30 on Friday.

Public transport conditions could deteriorate during the week if expected snow in China's northeast and rain in the south ensue, officials said.


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