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Colder weather may prompt early heating switch on

(Global Times)

11:02, October 22, 2012

A man holds his hands to keep warm in the rain at Tiananmen Square Sunday. Photo: Li Hao/GT

A cold front sweeping over the capital has caused an 8 C drop in temperatures, chilly rainfalls and also a strong wind Sunday, but temperatures will rebound to about 21 C during the day later this week, said meteorologists Sunday.

The Beijing Meteorological Bureau posted on its Sina microblog Sunday that the highest daytime temperature was 14 C, and eastern parts of the city could expect to see rainfall until midnight.

The cold weather has resulted in an increase of patients with respiratory diseases.

The Beijing Children's Hospital saw 9,000 patients last week, an increase of 2,000 compared with the previous week, the Legal Mirror reported Sunday.

"But it's still not winter yet, and the temperature will rise to the same as last week from Monday," Sun Jisong, the chief weather forecaster at the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, said Sunday.

The weather will be clear and sunny this week, with no strong wind or continuous temperature drop. Strong winds are expected to return Saturday, which could bring the lowest temperature to 5 C at night.

Although winter has not officially begun, the city's heating system is ready to switch on from as early as November 1.

The winter heating period usually lasts four months from November 15 to March 15, but the government can adjust the timing based on the actual weather conditions, according to Beijing heating system management regulations.

There will be a conference Friday to discuss the start date of the heating system, according to the Beijing Heating Association's website.

An operator at Beijing heating's hotline said that employees will go to residents' homes at the weekend to test the system and check whether radiators are leaking.

The hot spring peak season has also arrived early this year. Many hot spring resorts near the capital said the number of customers has increased 30 percent as of now, and they estimate the peak season that usually falls in mid-November might come in late October, the Legal Mirror reported.
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