Beijing will probably be as hot as Barcelona in August during the Olympic Games, but cooler than Atlanta and Athens, the city's chief meteorologists said.
Based on climatic data gathered over the past three decades, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau (BMB) is predicting that the average outdoor temperature in the capital for the period August 8-24 will be 24.9 C. The possibility of sweltering conditions reaching 35 C or higher stands at a mere 0.4 percent.
"People don't need to worry too much about the weather during the Beijing Games," said BMB Climate Center Director Guo Wenli.
"The city will enter the best season of the year with both the temperature and humidity dropping after August 7, the start of fall."
Despite average temperatures peaking at 29.5 C in the capital in August, and a high humidity rate of up to 77 percent, "People will not feel uncomfortable even if it is above 35 C," said Guo.
Local weather reports show that when the mercury drops to its lowest point in August the humidity soars - and vice versa.
"So in the morning, it will be very cool but very humid, while at noon it will be very hot but have the least humidity," he said.
But research by Chinese meteorologists suggests that it might rain every three days, with thunderstorms potentially occurring every three to four days during the Games.
To provide accurate and timely forecasts for the Games organizers, the BMB has cooperated with experts from several former Olympic host cities.
As well as a six-day weather forecast for Beijing and the other five co-host cities, it will provide hourly weather reports and forecasts for the Olympic venues, as well as an Olympic weather alarm.
The 2008 Olympic Games was originally scheduled to be held from July 25 to August 10. This was later shifted to August 8-24 to avoid the city's rainy season.
According to China's traditional lunar calendar, August 7 is the start of fall. After this the mercury drops and hailstorms, heat waves and other climatic headaches are less likely to occur.
"The Beijing Paralympics in September will enjoy very comfortable weather conditions," the director said.
(Xinhua News Agency February 29, 2008)