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August 2, 2013

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Thunderstorms bring relief to the city

A THUNDERSTORM yesterday afternoon brought much-wanted relief from the scorching heat that has been baking the city for days, dropping the mercury below 30 degrees Celsius in parts of the city.

But the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said it was only a passing blip and it will be back to normal with forecasts for today being a high of 38. The scorching days will last for at least 10 more days  with the highs hovering between 38 and 39 degrees. It could likely even touch 40 sometime between August 4 and 6.

The bureau has forecasted 10 to 15 hot days with highs above 35 degrees in August.

The bureau issued a yellow lightening alert at 12:55pm yesterday. A yellow gale alert and a yellow rain storm alert were issued later at 2:40pm. The latter two were upgraded to orange, the second of the three-level system, at 3:53pm and 4:28pm, respectively, and were lifted at 5:26pm.

Yesterday’s high was recorded as 38.8 degrees but the temperature in Xujiahui dropped to 23.6 degrees during the thunderstorm, the bureau said. Highs in other districts ranged from 24 to 29 degrees.

More than 20 roads in six districts were flooded due to the torrential rain. The tunnel on Qilianshan Road was closed as the flood water stretched over 20 meters and reached 80 centimeters in the deepest parts. Over 1,000 workers were sent to these roads to drain out the water.

Afternoon showers and thunderstorms are likely in the next three to five days in the city.

Airport hit by bad weather

Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport was closed for 90 minutes yesterday due to  thunderstorms.

Some 50 flights were canceled and 155 delayed at the Hongqiao airport yesterday after it was shut temporarily about 4pm.

Dozens of flights scheduled to land at the Hongqiao airport had to be diverted to the Pudong International Airport, which remained largely unaffected, the Shanghai Airport Authority said.

Some 30 percent of the international flights were diverted to Pudong yesterday afternoon.

Flight MU538 from Tokyo and MU722 from Hong Kong was among the flights diverted to Pudong.

Most outbound international flights were also affected by the bad weather and delayed by over three hours.

There was still some chaos after the airport resumed operation about 5:30pm that affected both landings and takeoffs well into the night.

Fish treated to expensive fruits 

the dragon fruit farmers in suburban Fengxian District are among those affected by the heat wave in the city.

The fruits started maturing earlier than usual, shortening their sale period  to 20 days from the normal 45 days.

The farmers are forced to feed the fruit to the fish instead of dumping them.

The Dingkang Pitaya Fruit Orchard in Fengxian’s Situan Town is one of the biggest production bases of the fruit in Shanghai as well as the only one in the district. Two thirds of the orchard’s fruits were sold in the market while one third was picked up by visitors.

But, the fruits priced at 35 yuan (US$5.6) per kilogram started to mature much earlier this year, adding three times the normal daily volume.

Given the scorching heat, there were few visitors to the orchard, forcing the farmers to scatter them in the fish ponds in the district. There is an excess of about 125 kilograms of the fruit per day, hurting the farmers badly.

Water hike plan postponed

The planned water price hike in the city has been postponed for a month due to the sizzling weather.

With little respite from the hot weather and the possibility of extreme high-temperature days in August, the plan to raise the water price, which was supposed to be implemented yesterday, will be put off until September 1, the Shanghai Information Office announced on its microblog yesterday.

The new progressive tariff system is similar to the ones used by the power utilities and was designed to encourage conservation.

For the first 220 cubic meters used in a year, residents were to pay 3.45 yuan (56 US cents) per cubic meter. The volume covers about 85 percent of the households in the city, according to the Shanghai Development and Reform Commission. The price will rise to 4.83 yuan for consumption beyond 220 cubic meters, and to 5.83 yuan for more than 300 cubic meters.



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