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August 3, 2012

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Yellow alert as Shanghai waits for the storms

SHANGHAI issued a yellow typhoon alert yesterday, the third highest in a four-level system, as the city prepared for the arrival of twin storms Saola and Damrey.

Damrey, a strong tropical storm, was first to have an effect on the city with its outer reaches bringing yesterday's short spell of rain. There were no reports of flooding.

The storm was expected to hit an area between Jiangsu and Shandong provinces last night, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Saola was weakening yesterday after hitting Taiwan. The typhoon is forecast to hit north Fujian or south Zhejiang this morning and its impact is expected to be felt in Shanghai.

Today's weather is likely to be cloudy to overcast with showers and a maximum temperature of around 32 degrees Celsius.

Tomorrow should be cloudy with showers in parts of the city and a high that could reach 33 degrees.

The influence of the storms should start to fade from tomorrow, the bureau said.

On the Bund yesterday, tourists seemed unaware that bad weather was on the way after several days of sunshine. But behind them workmen were removing boards that blew down in the wind.

One workman said: "The typhoons are coming" as the first raindrops began to fall.

Cleaners were busy clearing rubbish and sludge from drainage channels yesterday and the city has plans to close parks and suspend amusement facilities if there is a high-level typhoon alert.

On the Metro, train speeds on overground tracks will be limited in the event of a red alert.

In the sky, the storms are already taking their toll with flights canceled or delayed at Shanghai's two airports.

Most of the affected flights were bound for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

At Shanghai ports more than 50 foreign ships canceled plans to leave or dock, port authorities said.

Some passenger liners from Japan advanced their arrival time in Shanghai to dodge the storms, officials said.

Ferry services to Shanghai's three islands were canceled yesterday afternoon and the Shanghai Railway Bureau stopped selling tickets to coastal areas in southeast China today and tomorrow.


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