Over 1,000 rockets kept Olympics opening rain-free (Lead)

August 9th, 2008 - 11:29 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 9 (DPA) Chinese meteorologists fired more than 1,000 rockets into clouds to prevent rain from disrupting the Olympic opening ceremony at Beijing’s National Stadium, state media said Saturday. The operation to fire shells filled with silver iodide crystals was the largest ever mounted in China and succeeded in dropping the rain onto other areas of Beijing and nearby Hebei province, Xinhua news agency said.

“We fired a total of 1,104 rain dispersal rockets from 21 sites in the city between 4.00 p.m. and 11.39 p.m. Friday, which successfully intercepted a stretch of rain belt from moving towards the stadium,” Guo Hu, head of the Beijing meteorological bureau, told the agency.

Humidity reached 90 percent and “a small bubble in the rain cloud would have triggered rainfall”, Guo said.

The bureau issued an alert at 9.35 p.m. for possible rainfall over the stadium within an hour but managed to disperse the rain, he said.

About 100 millimetres of rain fell Friday night on Baoding city, to the south-west of Beijing in Hebei province, while Beijing’s nearby Fangshan district recorded 25 millimetres, the agency said.

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