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130-year Record Rain Puts Shanghai in Slow Lane
Update: 8/26/2008 10:25:00 AM Source: Shanghai Hotels


Buses, cars and motorbikes surf the streets in downtown Shanghai yesterday. A sudden early-morning rainstorm, the heaviest in 130 years, inundated more than 150 roads in the city center, flooded more than 11,000 homes, caused traffic chaos in the morning rush hour and delayed at least 85 flights in and out of Shanghai¡¯s two airports. Ferry services were also severely disrupted. (Shanghai Daily)

At least one person was killed yesterday as the heaviest one-hour rainstorm in 130 years hit Shanghai.

After steady overnight rain, the storm hit at the 7am-8am peak-commuting hour, trapping hundreds of thousands of people on their way to work in massive traffic jams that lasted for hours.

The rain flooded more than 11,000 houses and deposited danger-level water on about 150 roads, city flood-control authorities said.

A woman's body was found in the Zhuguang Road Tunnel near the highway from downtown to Qingpu District about 6am. The tunnel was about 2 meters deep in water. The woman, aged about 40, is believed to have been a migrant worker. Police were investigating her death.

The storm was caused by a strong thundercloud cluster and rain of that magnitude in just an hour had not been in the city since 1878, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said. Xujiahui, where the city's central meteorological observation station is located, had about 117 millimeters of rain in the hour.

Thunderstorms also hit most downtown areas, Minhang and Qingpu districts, Chongming County and Pudong New Area.

The weather bureau issued a yellow lightning alert and a yellow rainstorm alert at 5:57am and 6:25am, and updated the rainstorm warning to orange, the second highest.

Bus passengers spent three to four hours and even longer on their office-bound journeys. Many commuters got off buses and waded to work, ending up drenched.

Traffic police said that by 2:30pm, when the last batch of morning commuters arrived at their offices, 3,165 traffic accidents had occurred and 694 vehicles had broken down. Remarkably, no accident casualties were reported.

"The bus took a long break after moving just three or four meters at a time on the Elevated Yan'an Road,'' said Joan Xu, a student on her way to her internship on Nanjing Road.

Xu waited for 50 minutes in Qingpu District before joining the Shanghai-Qingpu shuttle bus about 10am. It was about 2pm when she finally stepped into the office.

"Not so many are concerned about the traffic any more almost everyone on board is now complaining how hungry they are,'' Xu told Shanghai Daily by phone about 1:30pm.

Police said the situation was exacerbated as lightning caused many traffic lights to malfunction.

At least 85 flights at Hongqiao and Pudong airports were delayed and passenger ferries to three local islands were canceled.

Hundreds of incoming and departing long-distance buses had been delayed by yesterday afternoon.

The city's high temperature was only 24.6 degrees Celsius yesterday, the lowest of the summer.

Rain may still hit at times today, forecasters said, and the temperature was expected to top 30 degrees.

Editor: canton fair

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