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September 23, 2009

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Air force says no rain on National Day parade

THE People's Liberation Army air force is taking steps to prevent rainfall and fog from dampening the country's much anticipated National Day military parade scheduled for October 1, an army officer said yesterday.

A total of 18 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 force's headquarters.

They will "spray an environmentally friendly catalyst" early on October 1 should there be a possibility of rain, Cui said.

"Based on weather records for October 1 in Beijing in the past four decades, we predict a less than 20 percent chance of rain in the capital on that day this year," Cui said.

The 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 more than 1,100 rain dispersal rockets were used on the eve of the event's opening ceremony, preventing a rain belt from moving toward the National Stadium.

Cui warned, however, that there are no guarantees with the weather.


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