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February 24, 2012

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Traffic gets on move again after 2 days of foggy havoc

SHANGHAI'S traffic was gradually returning to normal yesterday as the sky cleared following two days of heavy fog that disrupted flights and rail and shipping services.

More than 1,000 flights took off and landed at Pudong International Airport yesterday, in marked contrast to the delays and cancellations over the previous two days.

More than 80 percent of flights at the Pudong airport had been affected, with thousands of passengers stranded.

Airport officials said flights resumed yesterday morning and that most of the stranded passengers were expected to be on their way by last night.

However, some flights, such as those to Hong Kong, still faced delays or cancellation as there were "difficulties arranging flights in time with the crowded schedules," according to the airport.

At the mouth of the Yangtze River, vessels were waiting to get on the move as the mist slowly dispersed.

However, there was disruption to more than 400 services at local ports with schedules suspended because of the still poor visibility.

Police based at the mouth of the Yangtze River said they had salvaged a small car that had plunged into the river from Changxing Island in heavy mist on Tuesday.

Police said the driver had managed to escape after he drove into the water in poor visibility.

He escaped through a car window and called for help while floating in water, police said. Visibility was less than 5 meters at the time.

The mostly overcast and rainy weather is set to last for another five to seven days before the sun reappears, forecasters said yesterday.

Over the weekend, temperatures will drop 2 to 3 degrees Celsius, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said.

But the cold front will not be strong enough to prevent the arrival of warm and wet currents and the rainy weather should continue, it said.

The cold front brought some heavy winds with it and these should continue over the weekend.

"Rainy days are normal in February as it's the season changing period," said Wu Rui, a chief service officer at the bureau.

High humidity during rainy weather should make people feel colder than they would expect, Wu added.

The amount of rainfall this month surprised forecasters. They had predicted below average rainfall in a long-term forecast last month when they said they were expecting just eight to 10 rainy days in February.

Today is forecast to be overcast with drizzle and with a low of 5 degrees and a high of 7. Tomorrow will remain overcast with some rain. Temperatures will fall to a low of 4 degrees.

On Sunday, the minimum temperature should be around 3 degrees, forecasters said.


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