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80 flights canceled, 300 delayed by storm
By Ke Jiayun and Yang Jian

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AROUND 300 flights were delayed and almost 80 canceled at Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports by 11pm last night due to a thunderstorm in the city.

Some 22 flights were canceled at the Pudong International Airport with 138 delayed. The Hongqiao International Airport reported 55 flight cancellations and 148 delays.

Seven incoming flights with China Eastern, Air China and Hainan airlines were diverted to land at airports neighboring Shanghai by 9pm, according to the Shanghai Airport Authority.

Passengers were suggested to contact their airlines to check flight information.

Alerts for lightning, gales and rainstorm were issued at 6:50pm and 7:36pm last night, as thunderclaps and bolts of lightning announced the arrival of the storm. Residents were warned to stay inside by the weather bureau.

By 9pm, part of Chongming County recorded rain of more than 50 millimeters. Precipitation in downtown areas, Songjiang and Minhang districts ranged from 20 to 40 millimeters.

Meanwhile, gales in Chongming and Songjiang were reported reaching level 7 to level 9.

Some 3,600 lightning flashes were recorded in the city.

The bureau lifted the alerts for gales and rainstorm at 10:22pm

Following last night’s drama, August is set to play out with gray, wet days, though with thundershowers, forecasters said yesterday.

Frequent showers with the possibility of thunder and lightning are forecast for today, under the combined influence of warm and cold air masses, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Cooling rains

While yesterday the mercury reached 34 degrees Celsius, before it clouded over and the thunder and lightning arrived in the evening, today’s high will be around 30 degrees, due to cooling from overnight rains.

Tomorrow should be dry, though without much change in temperatures.

On Wednesday, thunderstorms will return and cool the city to between 24 and 28 degrees with rain forecast the whole day.

Thursday will see a pause in the rain, but showers are forecast on Friday afternoon is some areas.

Temperatures for Thursday and Friday will range between 23 and 30 degrees.

Due to a north-moving subtropical high, the weekend should be overcast, said the bureau.

Early blossom

Wu Zhixing, a local expert specialized in gardening, said sweet osmanthus is coming into flower during this year — the earliest for 35 years. “It’s rare for sweet osmanthus to flower just after the solar term chushu, or the end of dog days sanfu,” Wu said.

“Sweet osmanthus usually flowers between late September and early October.”

According to Wu, the sweet osmanthus blossom requires the temperature to be around 25 degrees and with enough humidity.

The local weather bureau’s five-day forecast shows the temperatures of the weekdays will fluctuate between 23 and 30 degrees, suitable for sweet osmanthus to flower.

As long as no freak temperatures or torrential rains occur in the next few days, sweet osmanthus will soon be seen flowering in abundance, said Wu.

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