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Spring getting closer as warm days stick around
By Ni Yinbin

SHANGHAI should stay relatively warm this week with the average temperature reaching 10 degrees Celsius before another cold front arrives for the weekend.

Today's low should rise to about 8 degrees. The high is forecast to reach 16 degrees Celsius today and 13 degrees tomorrow, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

Tomorrow's low should be 10 degrees. Wednesday's high is to be 14 degrees and low 7 degrees.

Skies are expected to be mostly cloudy to overcast this week, with a chance of drizzle starting tonight. The warmth and improved air quality this week should be good for outdoor activities for much of the week, forecasters said.

"Rain should come to the city over Monday night to Tuesday," said Man Liping, a chief service officer of the bureau.

While it was unclear whether the wave of warmth will bring spring to the city, the mercury is likely to drop on Friday due to a cold front, the bureau said.

Meteorological spring is announced by the bureau when the average temperature reaches 10 degrees for five consecutive days after li chun - the beginning of spring in the traditional Chinese calendar. Li chun usually falls around February 4. The first day of the sequence is the first day of spring.

Heavy fog on Saturday and yesterday morning caused seven flights at the Pudong International Airport to be cancelled with 66 others delayed, according to the airport authority. Nine other flights were forced to land at Hongqiao International Airport because of the low visibility in Pudong, which was less than 100 meters. More than 11,000 passengers were affected.

Ferries to Chongming Island were also suspended yesterday morning, officials said, and some expressways were temporarily closed.

There was moderate haze and heavy air pollution from Saturday to early yesterday morning with the index of fine PM2.5 particles reaching 200 micrograms, according to the Shanghai Environment Monitoring Center. Air quality improved as PM2.5 dropped under 30 yesterday afternoon. The PM2.5 national standard is a daily average of 75 micrograms. "More clouds are coming tonight and smog and haze are unlikely to return," Man said. But fireworks last night for the Lantern Festival - the end of the Spring Festival - may affect air quality today.

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