(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) -- It’s been a very chilly week in Pyeongchang so far, temperature dropped to minus 3 degrees Farenheit on Wednesday morning!
On Saturday during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony, many attending in the audience had to leave because of the cold: The temperature was in the single digits with a wind chill of minus 7 degrees.
The opening ceremony on Friday night is not expected to be as cold as the rehearsal, but organizers are providing any ticketed person attending the ceremony with a windbreaker, lap blanket, knit cap, heated seat cushion and hand and feet warmers. They will also set up wind screens to block brisk breezes, as well as heated rest areas. But before the opening ceremony, spectators will spend hours in line waiting for the process to get into the stadium.
The forecast for the Friday's opening ceremony is mostly dry with temperatures near freezing, and a wind chill in the 20s.
There is a weak storm system that will move through early Friday but it is expected to pass Pyeongchang before the ceremony begins and significant precipitation is not predicted.
Following the slight warm-up Friday and Saturday, a shot of colder air will move into the area late in the weekend.
Throughout the duration of the games, the highs for Pyeongchang will vary mostly between the 30s and the low 40s. Overnight lows will generally be in the teens and 20s.
This forecast is solely for Pyeongchang but many of the Winter Olympic events are being held in nearby areas in northeastern South Korea, with varying elevations leading to colder or warmer conditions. The home base for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang has an elevation of 2,300 feet. The elevation of the venues ranges from 2,100 feet to 4,700 feet.
During the month of February, average temperatures for the mountain region where Olympic events will be held are around freezing, and the average low is in the mid-teens. For the Gangneung coastal region, where indoor events like ice skating and hockey will take place, the average temperature is slightly warmer with a high of 44 Fahrenheit and a low of 29.
The most likely and prominent weather pattern to affect the Olympics, and the one that we’ve seen recently, is the cold and dry air flow from the northwest. This is due to the Siberian High pressure bringing the cold and dry weather to the Korean Peninsula.
Overall, the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics are expected to be plenty cold for winter sports, unlike the last two Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and Vancouver, Canada. In fact, this could be the coldest games in decades.
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