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

No. 2 Oregon beats Washington St. 38-31

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs with the ball during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Tennessee in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. Oregon won 59-14.

Marcus Mariota threw for 329 yards and five touchdowns

in Sports

Associated Press Top 25 scoreboard

football helmet

All the scores from the AP top 25

in Local Sports

Cascade Christian beats Nooksack Valley 42-18

football genric image

Nooksack Valley is now 2-1 on the season

in Local Sports

A busy day for WWU Athletics

western washington logo generic copy/wwu

CROSS COUNTRY, MEN'S GOLF, VOLLEYBALL

in Local Sports

Wright-Phillips nets hat trick; NY beats Seattle

New York Red Bulls defender Roy Miller (7) kicks the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the D.C. United, at RFK Stadium, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, in Washington.

Clint Dempsey entered the game in the 60th minute and scored 2 minutes later for Seattle