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March 25, 2010

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Spring is here, believe it or not

DESPITE gloomy skies and a chilly drizzle, Shanghai finally said goodbye to the longest winter in 15 years yesterday as weathermen declared that spring arrived last Friday.

Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, the city's weather authority, declares the start of spring once the average temperature climbs above 10 degrees for five consecutive days.

It considers the first of those five days the first day of spring.

The bureau said yesterday that Tuesday's average temperature was 10 degrees Celsius, and that the previous four days also had all been above 10 degrees.

Therefore, it was spring. In fact, it had officially been spring since Friday.

Actually, Tuesday's average measured only 9.975 degrees. But that rounds up to 10.0 to one decimal place, with the bureau saying that's how it routinely counts temperatures.

Residents were quite surprised by the announcement because a cold front had just arrived the city overnight on Monday.

Li Jinyu, one of the chief service officers of the bureau, said spring arrived a little earlier than normal, around March 25 in the city's 30-year average.

The 126-day winter was the longest in 15 years because of its unusually early start.

The longest winter recorded in the city's history was in 1976 with 138 days, the bureau said.

The bureau said it was unnecessary to pay too much attention to the meteorological season declaration.

"It was mainly for meteorological study and agricultural reference and there are many other ways to define seasons," said Fu Yi, another chief service officer.

Under the influence of the latest cold fronts, the temperature is expected to go as low as 4 degrees Celsius tomorrow morning. The roller-coaster-like weather is forecast to get warmer this weekend.

Today should be rainy to cloudy with a low of 5 degrees and a high of 12.

Tomorrow should be sunny with the temperature ranging from 4 to 13.


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