Zhao Guangzhong, director of the Sichuan Provincial Meteorological Bureau, apologized to the public yesterday for an inaccurate weather forecast.
"We forecast sun for International Women's Day and I went on an outing with my family. But it turned out windy and rainy and we all got cold and wet,"said Zhao, embarrassed. "As a weatherman, I'd like to say sorry for getting it wrong."
He added that the experience had brought home to him just how important accurate weather forecasts are for ordinary people.
Zhao announced that the Sichuan Met Bureau plans to improve its service by introducing short-term weather forecasts alongside its daily forecasts. A pilot scheme will begin soon in Chengdu and Xichang.
Local residents will be given an afternoon forecast every morning in time for them to prepare for changes in the weather. The short-term forecasts will be available in the media and as text messages to mobile phones.
Weather conditions in Sichuan are very complicated and accurate forecasting is tricky because of its geological location, Zhao said. He hoped people would understand the complexity involved and he welcomed views and suggestions from the public. The director added that his bureau was continually trying to improve its technology and the accuracy of its forecasts.
"We provide accurate long-term and medium-term forecasts but we recognize that in the past we have not been so successful with our short-term and regional forecasts".
A provincial radar system is expected to begin providing forecasting services in time for the mid-April flood season.
(China.org.cn by Yang Xi, March 19, 2008)