World and Nation

WEATHER Melting Winter Games

If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you’re probably well aware of the weather problems that have plagued the outdoor Olympic venues, especially Cypress Mountain where the freestyle and snowboard events are being held. Since the sites are selected way ahead of time, there is no way to forecast how the weather will play out during the games themselves. Unfortunately for Vancouver, an exceptionally warm winter has caused a severe shortage of snow at Cypress Mountain. Snow actually had to be transported down from higher elevations in order to firm up the courses. Though there is plenty of snow to be found at Whistler, warm temperatures have caused the snow to be quite soft during the day posing an added challenge to athletes as they adapt on the fly to the changing conditions.

The entire region, including the U.S. Pacific Northwest, has seen a warm January and February with Seattle recording its warmest January on record. With El Niño conditions continuing in the Pacific, the weather pattern will likely remain quite warm and relatively dry for the remainder of the Olympics and well into spring. In contrast, our neighbors to our south around Philadelphia and Washington D.C. have surpassed their seasonal snowfall records and would certainly be willing to export all of their snow to British Columbia.