Everyone’s talking about the weather!

Shanghai residents, Chinese and foreigners alike, are all complaining about the long stretch of chilly, drizzly, overcast days. A March 3 story in Shanghai Daily titled, “Longest stretch of gray days in 32 years … and more to come”, finally inspired me tell about Shanghai’s weather.

Citing data gathered by Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, the article reports that the prolonged period of overcast weather from February 5 through March 2, is the longest in the past 32 years. In the second half of February the sun shone for less than five hours. It was forty years ago that the sun shone for such a short time during the same period. Temperatures have been as stable as the overcast. High and low temperatures have hovered within a range of only a few degrees – highs between 8C and 11C (46F and 52F) and lows between 2C and 4C (36F and 39F).

Health professionals say levels of depression have increased during the gloomy weather. In recent weeks the Shanghai Mental Health Consultation Center has received twice as many calls as usual. In order to keep spirits high during gloomy weather, some experts advised locals to wear more colorful clothes while going out.

The Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 “solar terms” of approximately 15 days each. The 15-day period called “waking of the insects” began March 3. The period corresponds to the time of year when “weather is getting warmer”. Finally, March 12 dawned clear and by March 14 the afternoon air felt comparatively balmy.

To learn more about the Chinese lunar calendar and solar terms, copy and paste this website into your browser: http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/festivals/the-twenty-four-solar-terms.htm

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