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Beijing warned of lightning during Olympic season
Updated: 2007-08-17 17:17


BEIJING, August 17 -- Two meteorologists warned that Beijing would encounter a possibly high frequency of lightning during the Olympic season next summer and protection should be made in those particularly vulnerable areas.

In an academic paper submitted Thursday to the ongoing 13th International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity, Guo Hu, head of the Beijing Meteorological Observatory (BMO), and his fellow researcher Xiong Yajun concluded, after studying the 11-year lightning disaster data from 1995 to 2005, that Haidian District was the area most seriously affected by lightning disasters.

Haidian was among the high-frequency region of natural lightning while lots of universities, research institutes, tall buildings and electric equipment were based there, they said.

Most of the 31 Beijing Olympic venues are located in Haidian and some are open-aired. Many of the Olympic stadiums and gymnasiums are under construction, which are prone to be stricken by lightning.

The main venue, which is nicknamed as "bird nest" because of its shape, uses huge amount of steel and concrete. Construction workers are supplied with a detailed operation manual for the summer thunderstorm season.

During thunderstorms and lightnings, the manual prohibits workers from walking near edges of metal frames, climbing on tower cranes, using cell phones or walkie-talkies, or using solar-powered bathing facilities.

The manual also stipulates that high-rise cranes and other big machines, as well as electric appliances must have proper grounding and be equipped with additional safety protection devices.

The statistics showed that the lightning disaster frequency in Haidian is 4.73 times every year, which was followed by Fengtai, Chaoyang and Tongzhou at 2.5 times a year, Guo and Xiong said in the paper.

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