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July 4, 2012

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Temperatures rising as rain belt moves north

Today marks the end of the plum rain season, Shanghai's weather bureau announced yesterday, but not an end to the heat.

Temperatures reached 36.5 degrees Celsius in the city yesterday, the fourth consecutive day that they had reached at least 36 degrees. There are expected to be as many as 26 of these high-temperature days this year, the bureau said.

The rain belt that has been affecting the city is moving north today and sunny weather will continue over the next five days with temperatures expected to reach 38 degrees today and tomorrow.

However, thundershowers should appear again on Friday and Sunday afternoons.

During the 17-day plum rain season, the city saw an average of 176.2 millimeters of rainfall, compared to the average 210 millimeters over the past 10 years, the bureau said. There was a wide variation among districts, it said. Jiading had just 76.5 millimeters of rain, for example, while Jinshan had 327.7mm.

The plum rain season usually starts in mid-June and ends in early July along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The climate during this period features continual rain and heat. Ancient Chinese timed the arrival of the season by the growth of plums, hence the name.

The bureau had predicted Shanghai would have 20 percent more precipitation this year but that was a long-term forecast, said Kong Chunyan, a chief service officer at the bureau, and residents should pay more attention to the more accurate daily forecasts.

"According to the recent trend, Shanghai should probably have 22 to 26 days of high-temperature days," Kong said. "Again, although our long-term prediction in May showed that Shanghai should have 20 to 22 days of heat, we should focus more on the closer forecast and we will update our forecast with the change of weather."

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Health Bureau is urging local hospitals to improve outpatient and emergency services to deal with the rising number of patients expected as a consequence of the hot weather.

Experienced doctors are required to be on hand to serve at emergency departments to deal with critical patients.

And, with the number of calls for ambulances on the increase, Shanghai Medical Emergency Center has been told to improve its services to meet the need for ambulances.


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