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Beijing gears up for Olympic weather forecasts
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China's meteorological department will on Sunday publish its first official weather forecast for Aug. 8, the opening day for the Olympics, Yu Xinwen, a China Meteorological Administration (CMA) spokesman told reporters on Friday.

"For now, weather conditions are still too complicated for a precise forecast one week ahead," he said, declining to issue an official forecast at Friday's press conference despite repeated media requests.

"Information as to the weather on Aug. 8 would be available as early as Sunday," he said, "But the exact weather conditions at 8 p.m. of Aug. 8, when the Olympic opening ceremony commences, will still be beyond our capacity to predict by then."

According to Li, Beijing has deployed satellites, radar stations and automated weather stations to collect weather information.

Four satellites will take cloud images every 15 minutes, while 183 automated weather stations around the city about 5 km apart will gather data every 5 minutes. Seven fixed radar stations and two mobile radar stations are also in service, Yu Xinwen said.

Thirty-six weather forecasters and 13 foreign meteorologists are also helping their Beijing counterparts, according to Yu.

Yu said Beijing's forecasters have world-class technology and are confident of providing accurate forecasts with the help of domestic and foreign experts.

Press conferences would be held on Aug. 3 and Aug. 6 to discuss weather conditions during the Olympics, according to Yu.

(Xinhua News Agency August 2,2008)

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