Vancouver weather always a wildcard

Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:19pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Steve Keating

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The Canadian government will spend C$13.4 million ($12.8 million) to track one of the "world's most complex weather systems" but trying to predict what Mother Nature might do during the Vancouver Winter Olympics is a roll of the dice.

"We can train, we can install the equipment, but the weather always has the last word in what happens," David Jones, Environment Canada meteorologist, told reporters on Thursday during a briefing on preparations for the Games.

"We're subject to extreme events, we're subject to new types of weather systems we have not seen before, so we're going to try to do the best job we can to forecast the weather but it is always a challenge in this type of environment."

The hottest January on record in Vancouver has made the Winter Games' weather the hot topic in the build-up to the February 12 opening ceremonies -- the first to be held indoors because of Vancouver's notoriously wet climate.

Already the warmest city to host a Winter Games, Vancouver has felt more like a city getting ready to stage a Summer Olympics as record-smashing temperatures and relentless rain eat away at precious snow.

The major trouble spot for organizers is the Cypress Mountain venue, located just north of Vancouver, where more than 100 people are working around the clock to prepare the site for the snowboarding and freestyle skiing competitions.

Cypress has always been seen as a potential headache for the Olympics. Fog and rain disrupted a World Cup freestyle skiing event there in 2008 and the World Cup snowboarding parallel giant slalom race had to be canceled last year.