Weather bureau warns of severe frost and low temperatures

Farmers are taking measures to protect vegetables and fruit, while traffic police are warning drivers to take extra care on the roads.

Severe frost and minus 2 degrees Celsius temperature are predicted for early morning today.

Yesterday marked the second day of this year’s sanjiu, the coldest period in traditional Chinese lunar calendar. The city’s meteorological bureau issued yesterday its first yellow frost warning — the second of a three-level warning system — in two years.

Most parts of suburban Shanghai will suffer the lowest temperatures, while ice on the roads could affect the morning rush hour in urban areas.

Shanghai traffic police urged drivers to take extra care, especially when driving on steel bridges such as Yangpu, Lupu, Xupu and the Yangtze River Bridge and under elevated roads where ice easily forms.

They are also advised to drive carefully on quieter streets in suburban areas as there is not enough traffic to “warm up” the roads.

There could be congestion at entrances to expressways which are closed due to icy weather as well as around airports and railway terminals in case flights and trains are delayed, police said.

City’s sanitation authorities enhanced their road cleaning works as strong winds blew more leaves off trees. To ensure people working out and about in the cold, such as sanitation workers and traffic police assistants, can have a place to take a break from the chill, Hongkou District has opened nearly 100 “warm houses” with volunteers and 24-hour hot water supply. 

Suburban vegetable farms are also taking measures to combat freezing temperatures, according to the Shanghai Agricultural Commission. Greenhouses are being reinforced against strong winds and more covers have been added, while ensuring adequate supplies in the local market.

Seedlings will be protected with extra layers of covers and those ready to harvest will be put into storage immediately. They will also use plant antifreeze to protect vegetables and fruits.

In a farm in Jinshan District, the greenhouses are covered with some roller shutters and the grass mats will be used if temperatures further drop, said Liang Mingze, an agrotechnician at the farm.

The last frost alert, an orange one, was issued by the meteorological bureau on January 23, 2016, when the temperature plunged under minus 5 degrees Celsius. The arctic weather, which brought snow, froze many local water pipes and caused pipe bursts, with water emergency hotline received a record 10,000 calls. 

Yesterday, Shanghai SMI Water (Group) Company told 30 teams to stand by in case water pipe bursts occur, deploying 120 operators to receive calls on water hotline. At 11am, a water pipe on Longwu Road, Minhang District, was found leaking and underwent immediate repair to prevent water from being frozen.

Since the end of last year, the company has checked the cold-resistance levels of water supply facilities in 4,300 local residential communities and wrapped up the weaker ones.

Across the city, the average low today and tomorrow will be zero degree Celsius to minus 2 degrees, with a high of 5 to 8 degrees during the day, the meteorological bureau forecast. 

Air quality will be “moderate” on both days. Higher temperatures are predicted for the weekend with zero to 8 degrees on Saturday and between 5 and 12 degrees on Sunday.

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