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Heavy Fog Shrouds E China

Heavy fog blanketed eastern China early on Tuesday, closing down several interprovincial expressways and causing standstills on urban roads.

In Shanghai's Chongming, the world's largest alluvial island in the mouth of the Yangtze River, visibility was reduced to 60 meters on Tuesday morning, said Man Liping, an official with the Shanghai meteorological station.

The station issued the first heavy fog warning of this autumn at 6:06 AM.

"The fog started in Chongming and began to affect the city proper at 5:00 AM," she said. "Visibility was under 300 meters in most outer areas."

The mist was less serious in downtown Shanghai, but with a visibility of around 1,000 meters, vehicles lined up on urban roads in the morning peak hours. In some areas, traffic came to total standstills.

"Our company's shuttle bus couldn't move a bit on the expressway," said a Shanghai office worker surnamed Shao. "The long queue of congested vehicles was endless."

Shao and his colleagues, who were nearly two hours late for work, later found out the expressway linking to the neighboring Jiangsu Province had been closed.

The weather in Shanghai began to clear up at around 10:00 AM. The city's two civil airports, Hongqiao and Pudong, reported no flight cancellations or serious delays.

The fog also affected the neighboring provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui, with at least two inter-provincial expressways closed.

As of 11:00 AM, the fog still persisted in the central and southern parts of Jiangsu. Visibility was between 50 and 200 meters in major cities including Suzhou, Wuxi and Nantong.

(Xinhua News Agency November 4, 2008)

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