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August 10, 2013

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No respite from heat but mercury set to drop slightly

For the fourth consecutive day yesterday the mercury hovered above 40 degrees Celsius in Shanghai.

And predictions are that over the next five days it may be slightly better — 35 and above.

The city has never seen four straight days with highs topping 40 degrees since 1873, when its Xujiahui observatory began recording temperatures, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. 

The city has already had five such days this summer.

The highest temperature recorded at the benchmark Xujiahui observatory reached 40.6 degrees yesterday, second only to the record 40.8 degrees on Wednesday.

The suburban Songjiang District was the hottest area, where the mercury touched 41.2 degrees.

It was the eighth high temperature day this month and the 35th this summer. The bureau issued a red alert, the highest of a three-level warning system, at 7:56am yesterday, forecasting a temperature of 40 degrees.

There may be some relief from the intense heat.

“The intensity of the extreme heat will weaken slightly from Monday with a subtropical high moving north,” said Zhang Ruiyi, a chief service officer at the bureau.

The high should reach 39 degrees today with afternoon thunderstorm being forecasted.

Tomorrow is likely to be sunny with a high of 38 degrees. But on the first three days of next week, the temperature will drop slightly to 36 degrees, bringing a bit of a respite from the excessive heat.

It is hard to predict how many high temperature days are still ahead, but it should last for at least another five days, Zhang said.

Organizers of the Shanghai Book Fair, which runs from August 14 to 20, said they would use mist sprayers to cool down visitors at the three ticketing booths.

The sprayers can bring the temperatures down by 3 to 5 degrees, the organizers claim.

The heat wave has also hit the tourism market hard.

The Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center reports big drop of business. Its parking lot, which is normally packed with buses taking tourists to short distance trips, was empty yesterday.

“There is a significant drop in tourists compared to July and August last year. Short tours are usually popular among students who are on summer vacation,” said official Zhang Hui, who put the drop by as much as 50 percent.


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