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April 10, 2010

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Stormy reception for sunny forecast

IT rained on the local weather bureau's parade yesterday when officials admitted they had made a major mistake with the forecast.

On Thursday afternoon they said it was going to be sunny the next day with temperatures hitting 19 degrees Celsius.

In fact, it rained yesterday and the maximum temperature reached just 12 degrees.

The mistake drew complaints from residents, some of whom said the local weather forecast had long been inaccurate.

Shanghai Meteorological Bureau's error was compounded throughout the day on its Website, despite several updates.

At 5am it was forecasting a maximum temperature of 18 degrees, at 10am it was changed to 17 and at 11am it was said to be 16 degrees. None of the figures proved to be accurate.

"It was just irresponsible," said Chen Wenhui, a local weather enthusiast, said. "Mistakes are acceptable but not like these."

Li Jinyu, one of the chief service officers of the bureau, admitted it had made a mistake and said the change in the weather had been slower than expected.

Li said that Shanghai was on the edge of a rain zone and "plus the southeast wind, the city's sky did not clear as fast as we had expected."

Li also admitted that there was a weather system above the East China Sea that the bureau did not consider when making its forecast.

However, on the charge that the bureau was often inaccurate, Li said: "Mistakes in weather forecasting are normal."

Residents phoned the bureau's hotline 5489-6666 to complain and posted their anger on the Internet. Many complained that they had left umbrellas at home as the forecast was for cloudy to sunny weather.

"I believed the forecast and wore a pair of ankle length pants this morning, and I just felt chilly," one resident posted on, one of the biggest cyber communities in the city.

Even the Metro operator complained -- the wrong forecast had misled them in adjusting carriage temperatures, causing some passengers to say it was too chilly on some trains.

The last time there was such a major gulf between forecast and reality was in 2006, Chen said.

On July 23, the bureau forecast a maximum of 34 degrees. It was just 23 degrees, Chen said.


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