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Rain cools Beijing, Shanghai, delays Olympics tennis event
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Beijing had moderate to heavy rain on Sunday morning and afternoon, which cooled the city down to about 26 degrees Celsius, but the Olympic tennis competition was delayed in the afternoon for about an hour because of wet courts.

The city would have another round of moderate or heavy rain around Aug. 19, the second week of the Olympics, Wang Jianjie, deputy director of Beijing Meteorological Bureau (BMB), told reporters in Beijing on Sunday.

"Beijing will have more showers on Monday and drizzle on August 15 or 16."

She said the average temperature in August would be on par with the average temperature of 24.9 degrees Celsius over the past 30 years, but there could be highs of 32 degrees Celsius.

Beijing will provide prompt weather services during the Olympics, with the forecast for all Olympic venues in Beijing and the co-host cities updated every three hours, Wang said.

"We will provide updated weather service every hour for the Olympic outdoor events including tennis and road cycling," said Guo Hu, head of the BMB. "We will offer our forecast in time so that the game organizers have time to prepare for the weather change."

Shanghai had thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon, which brought the temperature down to 26 to 28 degrees Celsius. The city started to have showers Saturday and the rainy weather might last until Aug. 15, said the Shanghai Meteorological Observatory.

The city's anti-flooding departments had activated their emergency response system. The football games, which would be held in the city, might be affected by the thunderstorms, said the observatory.

About 1,110 rockets were fired from Beijing and Hebei Province in two rounds on Friday afternoon and evening to disperse rain clouds ahead of the opening ceremony for the Olympics, said Zhang Qiang, executive deputy-director of the Beijing Weather Modification Office at a press conference on Sunday.

"But we will not use rain dispersal measures for the Olympic sports events," Zhang said.

Meteorological departments in Hong Kong, where the Olympic equestrian events are being held, also strengthened their service with support from their counterparts in neighboring Guangdong Province.

The Hong Kong Astronomical Observatory and Guangdong Meteorological Observatory will jointly issue forecasts every day for the next seven days. They will also provide short-term forecasts for equestrian venues.

(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2008)

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