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

St. John’s Shifting Its Psychiatric Focus

saint john's

Psychiatric ward will focus on elderly patients

in Local

Classes Resume at North Mac Intermediate School Carbon Monoxide Free

carbon_monoxide

Classes resumed Thursday at North Mac Intermediate School, two days after a carbon monoxide leak sickened more than 140 students and adults.

in Election 2014, Local

Illinois Unemployment Rate Falls; Quickly Turns to Political Fodder

unemployment

Illinois unemployment fell in August to 6.7 percent.

in Election 2014, Local

Libertarian Gov. Candidate to Stay on November Ballot

chad_grimm

A Sangamon County judge on Thursday rejected the Republican Party's attempt to have a Libertarian candidate for Illinois governor struck from the Nov. 4 ballot.

in Election 2014, Local

Rauner: Ethics Problems Are Quinn’s, Not Mine

Bruce Rauner (R), Pat Quinn

Rauner's firm owned a company which settled fraud charges with Georgia