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HK confident of quality weather forecasts for Olympic equestrian events
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The Hong Kong Observatory is able to make quality weather forecasts during this summer's Olympic equestrian events, an official said on Wednesday.

Edwin. S.T.Lai, a senior scientific officer at the Hong Kong Observatory, admitted that Hong Kong is likely to be hit by tropical cyclone and storms in August, but insisted that they were confident of timely and accurate weather forecasts for the Olympics.

"We had established a special website for equestrian events," said Lai. "Weather information such as temperatures, relatively humidity, wind speed and direction are shown on the website for both venues - Shatin and Beas River."

The Hong Kong Observatory had also developed a weather observing system to assess the "heat stress index" experienced by horses for the Olympic events.

According to Lai, the system was designed to measure the heat stress by simulating the response of animals or human beings due to heat and sweating under the sun. It had already collected data in the summer of 2006 and 2007 for reference to determine the appropriate time for the competition.

Moreover, the Observatory is going to provide tailor-made forecasts during the Aug.8-24 Games and deploy observers to conduct hourly weather observation at the two venues.

"We will provide 3-day 3-hourly specific forecast containing information such as rainfall amount, which would be helpful for the organizers to fine-tune the schedule," said Lai.

The Olympic equestrian events will run from August 9 to 21, with jumping and dressage events held in Shatin and the cross country competition in Beas River.

(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2008)

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