Expert: Overcast Skies for Olympics Opening Ceremony

The weather will be mainly overcast but favorable for the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, said Yu Xinwen, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) spokesman, in Beijing on Wednesday.

He said there was a possibility of a brief shower on Friday afternoon, while the temperature would be between 25 degrees and 30 degrees Celsius.

More than 100,000 athletes, performers and spectators are expected to attend the opening ceremony in the National Stadium, or "Bird's Nest," on Friday night. As one of the highlights of the 16-day Games, the opening ceremony will be broadcast world-wide.

Yu said the weather pattern in Beijing would be complicated over the next few days, so the monitoring and updating of weather forecasts should be strengthened to guarantee accurate short-term forecasts.

Qiao Lin, National Meteorological Center of CMA chief forecaster, said the capital would not have extreme weather in the next week.

He said it would be cloudy and overcast on Thursday, although flights in and out of the Beijing Capital International Airport would not be affected during a period when many dignitaries and guests will arrive.

But moderate rain was expected during the weekend, he said.

Yu said the Beijing Olympic Meteorological Service Center would provide three-hour weather forecasts for all Olympic venues 72 hours in advance.

"We will also provide weather forecasts for every hour, 24 hours in advance, for special sports events," he said.

Four satellites will take cloud images every 15 minutes, while 186 automated weather stations around the city will gather data every 5 minutes. Seven fixed Doppler radar stations and two mobile radar stations are also in service.

(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2008)

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