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

in Local Sports

Grizzlies hold off a late Trail Blazers rally to go up 3-0

Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Joerger reacts to a call against his team as they play the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter of Game 1 of the opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oklahoma City on Saturday, April 19, 2014.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Marc Gasol had 25 points and the Memphis Grizzlies took a 3-0 lead in their playoff…

in Local Sports

Escobar’s HR leads Twins’ balanced 8-5 win over Seattle

minnesota twins logo

Minnesota took advantage of three Mariners errors and two wild pitches.

in Local Sports

Flames end Canucks season with 7-4 win in Calgary

image

The Canucks lost despite having a 3-0 lead midway through the first period.

in Local Sports

Hisashi Iwakuma has strained lat muscle, could be out up to a month

Seattle Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma looks on before a spring exhibition baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Monday, March 24, 2014, in Peoria, Ariz.

The 34-year-old pitcher is 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA in 3 starts with Seattle this season.

in Local Sports

WWU Vikings softball takes two at home against Simon Fraser

Western Washington University's softball team beat Saint Martins University 1-0, then lost 7-3 on Saturday, March 15, 2013, at Viking Field in Bellingham, Wash.

Seniors shine in sweep for post-season bound WWU.