Efforts geared up to disperse rain, fog for celebration

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The People's Liberation Army (PLA) air force is taking steps to prevent rainfall and fog from dampening the country's much anticipated National Day military parade scheduled for Oct. 1, an army officer said Tuesday.

A total of 18 carrier aircraft equipped with rain dispersing devices have been deployed in Hebei and Shanxi, said Cui Lianqing, deputy director with the meteorological bureau of the PLA air forces headquarters.

They would "spray an environment-friendly catalyst" early on Oct. 1 should there be the possibility of rainfall, to prevent or reduce the impact of rainfall and clouds on the parade, Cui said, without giving details.

"From weather records for Oct. 1 in Beijing in the past four decades, we predict a less than 20 percent chance of rainfall in the capital on Oct. 1 this year," Cui said.

The Oct. 1 celebrations will feature a military parade and a mass pageant in the morning, and an outdoor evening gala in Tian'anmen Square.

In addition to rain-dispersing aircraft, 48 ground vehicles equipped with fog dispersing devices will be deployed at airports where military aircraft set to participate in the parade would take off and land.

"There are only a handful of countries in the world capable of conducting artificial weather modifications on such a scale," Cui said.

Beijing took similar action during last year's Olympic Games, when meteorological workers fired more than 1,100 rain dispersal rockets on the eve of the Game's opening ceremony, preventing a rain belt from moving toward the Olympic stadium.

Cui said the air forces had conducted six experiments in September, all with good results. They are looking to conduct another before the end of the month.

But he said that there are still uncertainties in the weather. "Sometimes, you just cannot change the way nature governs itself," he said.

"But we will do our best," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 22, 2009)

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