Weathermen fear Beijing Olympics lightning strikes

Chinese meteorologists have warned that the site of most venues for the 2008 Beijing Olympics could suffer a high number of lightning strikes after the Games begin, state media said on Friday.

Weathermen fear Beijing Olympics lightning strikes
Chinese meteorologists have warned that the site of most venues for the 2008 Beijing Olympics could suffer a high number of lightning strikes after the Games begin, state media said on Friday.


Lightning has killed 499 people in China so far this year, nearly 200 more than in the same period last year.

In an academic paper submitted on Thursday to an international conference, Guo Hu, head of the Beijing Meteorological Observatory, and fellow researcher Xiong Yajun said they had studied Beijing lightning data from 1995 to 2005 -- and Haidian district was the area most heavily hit.

Most of the 31 Beijing Olympic venues are in Haidian and some are open air.

"Haidian was among the high-frequency regions of natural lightning while lots of universities, research institutes, tall buildings and electric equipment were based there," they were quoted as saying.

Compared with other parts in north China, Beijing was more likely to be hit by thunderstorms and lightning "due to its geographical and meteorological conditions", the experts said.

The Beijing observatory tested its "contingency plan" for thunderstorm forecasts around Aug. 8, a year before the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics.

"(The observatory) reported three times on possible thunderstorms, gales or lightning to the Olympic organising committee," Xinhua said.

Large swathes of China have been hit by severe storms and flooding this summer, which have killed hundreds. Other parts of the country have suffered prolonged drought.

Last year, lightning strikes killed 717 people nationwide, injured 640 and caused 19,982 accidents across the country.

Reuters
Last Mod: 17 Ağustos 2007, 11:06
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