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Special team to provide weather services during Olympic equestrian events
15:22, August 03, 2008

The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) said on Sunday that it has deployed a dedicated team of meteorologists to provide weather information at the Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events venues.

At a press briefing on the Observatory's latest initiatives to support the equestrian events, Assistant Director of the HK Observatory (Forecasting and Warning Services) Wai Hon-gor, said the team, which had been stationing at both the venues and the Observatory Forecasting Office since July 25, would monitor the weather, temperatures, humidity, winds, rainfall and heat stress indexes round-the-clock to ensure that both the organizer and the public are fully informed of the weather conditions during the competition period.

To ensure accurate measurements of heat stress, the Observatory had specially designed a wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) measurement system which measures air temperature, natural wet- bulb temperature and black globe temperature, representing the combined effect of temperature, humidity, wind and solar radiation, he said.

"HKO forecasters will issue detailed three-day weather forecasts for the competition venues four times a day. Seven-day forecasts are also provided to facilitate advance planning of the events," Wai said.

Apart from these regular weather forecasts, the special team will also closely monitor the weather in the venues' surroundings and alert the competition organizer to any rapid weather changes.

Wai said the Equestrian Company and government departments supporting the equestrian events were provided with access to the above weather information via the HKO online weather information system.

The public can get the information on the HKO website specially dedicated to the equestrian events (http://olympic.weather.gov.hk), Wai added.

He said that from Aug. 8, the HKO would issue special weather bulletins to the media before each competition session on weather forecasts and reports for the venues.

"Spectators are advised to check the weather information and watch out for announcements by the electronic media before they start their trips to the events," he said.

Also speaking at the briefing, John Breen, who is in charge of the Venue Operations and Communications Center of the Equestrian Events, said that accurate and up-to-date weather information would equip the organizer with the information needed to make important decisions about the competitions and to advise spectators accordingly.

"The Equestrian Company has contingency plans for adverse weather, including liaison with public transport operators and keeping ticket holders informed of any plans to delay or postpone competitions," he said.

Veterinary Technical Delegate to the Equestrian Events, Professor Leo Jeffcott, also underpinned the importance to his work of reliable weather information. He said he had been working closely with the HKO for three years and praised its efforts in producing a comprehensive package of weather and climate data.

Source: Xinhua

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