News

Avalanches, poor visibility may disrupt Sochi Olympics

Avalanches, poor visibility may disrupt Sochi Olympics

2014 OLYMPICS: A man walks past a shop with an Olympic logo in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi Dec. 21. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian meteorologists have no concerns about a shortage of snow for the Winter Olympics in February but believe avalanches and poor visibility could disrupt the Sochi Games.

The slopes where ski races and other mountain events will be held, high above the sub-tropical Black Sea shore, should have 6.5 to 23 feet of snow, said the head of Rosgidromet state forecasting Alexander Frolov.

Frolov also told a news briefing there was “a risk that a two, three-day cyclone may set in and significantly complicate our lives. Then the avalanche danger will increase and we will have to … interrupt the Games”.

PHOTOS: Olympic Team USA uniforms

Avalanches are common in winter and emergency services in Russia fire artillery rounds at the slopes to force the snowpack to come down safely.

“The second risk for us is low visibility when the cloud cover comes down,” said Frolov.

President Vladimir Putin has staked his personal and political prestige on a successful Games in a location where most of the venues have had to be built from scratch.

Sochi Games chief Dmitry Chernyshenko has said the weather is viewed as a bigger potential problem for the organizers than security or infrastructure of a Games that has cost Russia around $50 billion.

Unusually warm temperatures last winter prompted organizers of Russia’s first post-Soviet Olympics, and first Winter Games, to store about 450,000 cubic meters (16 million cubic feet) of snow in the mountains just in case.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt, writing by Alexei Anishchuk, editing by Tony Jimenez)

Recent Headlines

yesterday in Local

Tuition Freeze Deai In Doubt

Iowa state capital

Republicans in the Iowa House have voted to try to change the terms of a deal that would freeze in-state tuition for students at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I this fall.

yesterday in Local

More Testimony On “Hush Money”

money in hand

An official from the Iowa state agency under fire for confidential settlements that included “hush money” for laid off workers…

yesterday in Local

Nebraska Water Bill Becomes Law

WaterTap

Legislation that grew out of the work of the Nebraska Water Sustainability Task Force last year has been signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman.

yesterday in Local

Spotters Prepare For Storm Season

Todd Heitkamp training 41714

Severe storm spotting classes are going on across the region, as the turn to warmer weather approaches.

yesterday in Local

One Final Day In Lincoln

nebraska-state-capital

Nebraska lawmakers are back in Lincoln today for the final day of the 2014 session.