Beijing plans to use ‘huge umbrella’ to keep athletes dry

BEIJING: Beijing will use aircraft, missiles and cannon in what could amount to a huge umbrella over the city to keep athletes dry during next year's Olympics, state media reported yesterday. 

The August 8-24 sporting extravaganza will happen during normally arid Beijing's rainy season when hail as well as water is often seen, the Beijing Times said. 

But the weather bureau plans to use advanced techniques to force rain clouds to unload as far away as 90km from the capital, the paper said. 

Zhang Qiang, the head of the city's artificial weather management office, told the newspaper that five aircraft and several batteries of cannon and rockets will be used during the Olympics. 

The system will be tested this year to ensure that it can work next August when rain is expected to fall once every three days, he said. 

No details were released on exactly how the plan will work but artificial rain is normally created by seeding clouds with chemicals such as silver iodide spread by rockets and planes. 

China claims a successful record of influencing the weather by artificial means. Earlier this year official media reported that snowfalls had been artificially generated by cloud seeding in the north of the country. – AFP 

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