Planes, trains and automobiles all disrupted as fog descends on city
By Hu Min,Yang Jian and Ma Yue
THE Shanghai Meteorological Bureau issued a yellow fog alert early yesterday as the city was shrouded in dense fog, causing the cancelation of 30 flights, and lengthy delays on the roads and public transport.
The warning — the lowest in a three-color scale — was issued at 6:45am and remained in place until 9:15am as visibility fell below 500 meters in many areas.
As well as the 30 cancelations, seven international and four domestic flights were diverted to Hongqiao International Airport from the Pudong airport, while more than 100 others were delayed due to the heavy fog.
The international flights, carrying about 1,300 passengers, were en route from several destinations, including Paris, Frankfurt and Bangkok.
Also at Pudong, five outbound China Eastern and China Southern flights were delayed for more than two hours before 9am.
As visibility at Hongqiao never fell below 2km, no flights were delayed for more than two hours, airport authorities said.
The schedules at both airports returned to normal about 9:30am when the fog alert was lifted, though the knock-on effect lasted for several hours afterward.
On the city’s roads yesterday, drivers were told to keep their speed under 30km/h on Nanpu Bridge and below 40km/h on Lupu Bridge while the alert was in place. Speed restrictions were also introduced from 6am onward on several major roads, including the S32, G15, G40, G50 and G60 highways.
Traffic police reported several accidents on the city’s ring roads between 7am and 9am due to the fog, which also caused congestion across the city.
No serious injuries were reported however.
On public transport, several services to Qidong in Jiangsu from the Shanghai Southern Long Distance Bus Station were delayed due to the temporary closure of Chongqi Bridge, which links Chongming County and Qidong.
Several ferries, including those to Chongming, were also suspended for several hours due to the poor visibility, though most returned to normal soon after 9am.
Meanwhile, on Line 16 of the Metro network, trains running between East Huinan and Shuyuan stations were ordered to keep their speed under 60km/h due to heavy fog on an elevated section of the route.
The restriction led to services running about four minutes late, according to officials.
As well as fog, Shanghai has been shrouded in pollution in recent days.
From a peak of 244 at noon on Sunday — a reading eight times the World Health Organization’s safe level — the city’s air quality improved gradually through yesterday.
By 9am the AQI had dropped to 68, which is regarded as “good,” though by 4pm it had edged back up to 83, the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center said.
The situation is set to worsen today, with a reading of 95 to 115 expected in the morning, dropping to between 55 and 75 in the afternoon.
Despite yesterday’s balmy weather — the mercury soared to 18.6 degrees Celsius in some places — today marks the arrival of xiaohan (minor cold) on the Chinese lunar calendar, and temperatures are set to slump.
A low of just 4 degrees is expected across the city, while light rain, sleet and even some snow are possible in some areas later in the day, forecasters said.
The temperature will continue to fall tomorrow, with a low of 3 degrees and a high of 7 expected. The outlook will be mostly overcast and cloudy.
Thursday is forecast to be colder still, with a low of 1 to 2 degrees in downtown areas, and minus 1 or 2 in some suburban areas, where ice is also likely, the bureau said.
The mercury will fluctuate between 2 and 11 degrees on Friday, and between 3 and 12 degrees on Saturday, it said.