BEIJING, China - China is armed and ready to stave off a perceived threat to the Asian Games: rain.
Five planes and more than 1,000 rockets have been prepared to disperse storm clouds that threaten the Nov. 12-27 event in the southern city of Guangzhou,
according to Huang Minhui, spokesman for the provincial meteorological bureau.
"The weather is usually sunny this time of year, but we're not taking any chances," Huang told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday.
Although most foreign experts consider weather modification an inexact science at best, Chinese authorities claim to have scored major successes in the field.
Its weather modification arsenal includes 6,781 artillery guns and 4,110 rocket launchers dispersed throughout the country
to shoot dry ice or silver oxide into storm clouds with the aim of making it rain when and where needed.
In particular, Chinese meteorologists say they succeeded in keeping rain away from the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games in the capital Beijing.
Yet even Chinese scientists acknowledge a lack of rigorous testing on the effects of cloud seeding,
and information about the national rain creating program is a tightly kept secret.