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Take cover, it's going to be torrential

DON'T leave home without your umbrella for the next seven to 10 days, weather forecasters warned yesterday as they predicted heavy rain and thunderstorms for Shanghai. Frequent rain over the past week, the beginning of the plum rain season, turned to torrential showers yesterday, flooding some city roads and causing delays to flights. Shen Yu, a senior engineer with the city's weather bureau, said the wet weather would continue until early next month. Drivers in the city were urged to prepare for tricky road conditions over the weekend. People involved in outdoor activities were also warned to be aware of the risk of lightning. On the bright side, the city will remain comfortably cool over the next few days with highs between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius. Thousands of air travelers were delayed yesterday morning after a sudden torrential shower disrupted traffic at local airports, the airport authority said. More than 90 percent of outbound flights were delayed until after noon because of the rain. Services gradually returned to normal after the rain eased. Some factories and staff dormitories were flooded during the morning when water from a creek by the Wuzhong Road section of the Outer Ring Road poured onto the street. Emergency repairs The flood prevention authority blamed the area's inadequate drainage system. The water level came up to the top of cars' tires and one resident commented: "The road has turned into a flowing creek." Emergency repairs were under way by yesterday afternoon, and to cope with future showers authorities were installing temporary drainage pipes. The city's weather authority yesterday issued an orange storm alert, the second to top warning on a four-level scale. An orange alert means that more than 50 millimeters of rain is expected to fall in less than three hours. The damp weather is taking its toll on city residents' emotions. "Seriously, it's the first time in my life that the idea had come into my mind that I should buy myself a pair of rain shoes," said Summer Zhao, a 29-y! ear-old woman who said she was stunned to find nothing but thunderstorm and shower symbols on a weather forecast provided by the local bureau. Zhang Jingxin, 22, a fresh college graduate, said the long span of "gloomy and disturbing" weather in recent days had caused his spirits to sag. "The bad weather has added to our job-hunting stress. It made the traffic terrible and affected our mood," he said.

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