The Winter Olympics officially start Friday, February 12, 2010, and all eyes are on the weather. So far, this winter has been an interesting one to date in British Columbia, with an El Nino weather pattern making a bit challenging for snow and cold temperatures to hang around.
So what will the weather be like?
Forecasts are pointing towards average above normal temperatures and precipitation below normal. This unfortunately does not bode well for any potential snow or spells of cold weather. Normal February high temperature in Vancouver is 46-degrees F./+7-degrees C. Normal February low temperature is 34-degrees F./+1-degree C. The probabilities indicate that during the Winter Olympics (Feb. 12-28) more often than not, temperatures will be above these levels.
Liquid precipitation averages 4.90-inches/120-millimeters during February. Snowfall in February normally amounts to 3.8-inches/9.6-centimeters. Thanks to El Nino, the storm track this winter has been positioned farther to the south than normal, which means that this winter season, the brunt of the storms have been sliding south of Vancouver. On the dates the Games are being held, there’s been an average of eight days with no precipitation at all over the last six years. The little precipitation that has fallen this winter, has been chiefly in the form of rain because of the above-normal temperatures. This pattern is expected to persist through the Olympics.
The relatively balmy conditions could also lead to another problem: patchy areas of dense fog.
Last month, warm weather and rain led to the closure of one of Vancouver’s Olympic ski hills. Olympic officials announced that alpine ski runs at the Cypress Mountain Resort, located on the North Shore of Metro Vancouver, will remain closed to the public, in order to preserve the snow remaining on the slopes. “Closing Cypress Mountain early is the responsible thing to do, given the recent weather, in order to make sure we’re ready to host the world’s best athletes in one month’s time,” said Tim Gayda, VANOC’s vice-president of sport.