Umbrellas come in handy for pedestrians on downtown Nanjing Road in Shanghai yesterday as the annual plum rain season started with, as expected, a downpour. The plum rain season, featuring damp, muggy and raining weather, usually starts in mid-June and runs to early July in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The season coincides with the time plums ripen in the region. (Jiang Xiaowei)
Shanghai was battered by heavy rain yesterday — the day the annual plum rain season began.
Warm and humid weather with intermittent rains are the pattern for the next few days, said forecasters.
"This year's plum rain season will be longer than previous years with more intensive rainfall," said Kong Chunyan, the chief forecaster of the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. Normally the plum season ends around July 10, but this year the season will last longer, Kong added.
A subtropical high is moving toward the lower stream of Yangtze River and will bring frequent rainfall to the city throughout the week, the bureau said. Currently, Shanghai is at the northern edge of the rain belt.
The temperature will reach 29 degrees Celsius through Friday and there will be overcast weather and intermittent showers. The low temperature will be around 22 degrees.
Intensive and continuous downpours will hit the city again from Saturday as the plum rain belt reaches the city, according to the bureau.
The temperature will soar in early July with thunder showers in the afternoon, the bureau said. It will be sweltering and muggy. "People will feel hotter and uncomfortable when the humidity is high," a bureau official said.
Plum season, called meiyu in Chinese, usually begins on June 17 and lasts until early or mid-July.
The season — called so because it always occurs when the plums ripen — is characterized by extreme dampness and high temperatures. It lasts about 23 days on average in the city.
The end of the season will mark the beginning of a scorching summer for the city with frequent rains, Kong said.
Forecasters say this year's rain season will be longer and more intense than last year, with three typhoons forecast to hit the city. There will also be more hot days this summer.
The city will endure 22 to 28 days with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius, compared to 15 days last summer. The extreme high temperature will reach as high as 40 degrees, the bureau said.
Tomorrow marks the summer solstice, which indicates the longest day and shortest night of the year — and rising temperatures.