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Lightning strikes safety concerns for visitors

2010. 6 July

by Ni Dandan

( Pavilions inside the Expo Park Sunday assured visitors that its structures are sturdy enough to withstand poor weather conditions, after two pavilions were forced to close temporarily during heavy rainstorms on Saturday.

The Spain Pavilion said that shutting down for some 20 minutes, effectively turning away hundreds of queuing visitors, was a decision that was not made lightly.

"We had to keep the safety of visitors in mind," Yang Yue, a spokeswoman for the Spain Pavilion, told the Global Times Sunday. "We closed to encourage those in line to get to shelter, out of harm's way from the extreme weather conditions, including lightning and thunder."

She added that the choice had nothing to do with rumors claiming the wicker basket-shaped structure was leaking inside from the downpour of rain as its interior layer lining the exterior wicker is made of glass and steel, preventing water from seeping in.

The Denmark Pavilion was also victim to the storms over the weekend, forcing staff to cordon off its outdoor lanes dedicated to pedestrians and cyclers due to fears that slippery conditions posed a safety risk to visitors.

Visitors were, however, still able to get a close up of the main attraction as the outdoor atrium, where the Little Mermaid statue sits, is equipped with a sophisticated drainage system that prevents the area from flooding, according to Lisa Chen, a staffer on duty at the Denmark Pavilion Sunday.

With four more stormy days forecast this week, other pavilions Sunday reassured worried visitors that the chance to tour pavilions at the park would not be lost to rainy weather.

"While it may seem like our pavilion is only covered by a flimsy layer of canvas, it is made of a highly advanced material that is fully waterproof," Bai Qinqin, a tour guide at the Norway Pavilion, told the Global Times Sunday. "Our pavilion has been built to handle the weather conditions of the coming months."