Source: Xinhua

08-08-2008 07:58

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

BEIJING - On the first day of autumn under the lunar calendar, Beijing was wrapped in a persistent haze with cloudy skies on Thursday. The humidity made it feel stiflingly hot, even though it was actually cooler -- with a high of 31 degrees Celsius (about 88 Fahrenheit) -- than some days previously.

But weather experts said that cooler weather was expected during the Games, which start on Friday, and athletes would probably see no "sauna weather" ahead.

"Heat and humidity will recede after the lunar-calendar autumn begins," Guo Wenli, director of the climate office with the Beijing Meteorological Bureau (BMB), said.

Ancient Chinese followed the lunar calendar to indicate climate changes during the year, and the calendar remains an important reference today in China.

"High humidity and high temperatures are not expected to combine to create a 'sauna' in Beijing in August," said Wang Yubin, BMB's deputy chief engineer and deputy head of the Olympic weather service group.

The maximum humidity usually emerges in the early morning or at the latest by noon in August, while the highest temperatures are usually recorded in the afternoon, according to the BMB's analysis of weather records, Wang explained.