“There is plenty of snow on the slopes now and it is not likely to disappear during the games, despite the upcoming mild weather.”
~ Jason Nicholls, AccuWeather reporting from Sochi, Russian Federation, Winter Olympic Games
We received a little rain. Almost ¼-inch nudged the season’s total up to 2.05 inches. I’m afraid this year, precipitation is counted by the drop and not the inch. The weather, thus far, has not presented a consistent winter-like pattern. Take a look at the trees in the foothills. Some have fall leaves still clinging to them while others have new spring leaves budding.
Thankfully, we have the Winter Olympics (yes, winter) as a reminder of the season. But, then again, the Sochi, Russia site of the winter games isn’t exactly a “winter wonderland.” I had imagined a landscape more resembling a scene from the 1965 movie “Doctor Zhavago.” An amazing place, our planet, with its variety of weather and climate.
Sochi, it seems, was President Vladimir Putin’s idea. A city in southern Russia on the northeast shore of the Black Sea with a lush subtropical climate seemed an unusual choice. But apparently the President has fond memories of times spent there. During Soviet years, Sochi was primarily a summer sea resort. More recently, the snow-capped mountains above the city were transformed into a modern ski resort. Not unlike our own local mountains, the snowfall is far from predictable.
Weather was a major concern for the Winter Olympics until contingency plans were put in place. The resort has two reservoirs and 400 snow generators along the ski slopes, considered one of the largest snowmaking systems in Europe. Also, 195,000 cubic yards of snow from last winter are stored under insulated covers. Current weather conditions make Sochi the warmest Winter Olympics in history.
Unfortunately this week and into next, Sochi’s weather is predicted to be more beach-like than alpine. Warm temperatures are presenting challenges for Olympic organizers and athletes alike. Snow boarders and skiers have voiced concerns over the melting and lack of snow on their competition slopes. On Tuesday, a downhill ski event training was cancelled and the Nordic combined event faced a slushy track. The head of the Sochi Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko, said, “There is no need yet to use emergency snow reserves.” He concluded, “Great conditions for the visitors and spectators to come and have fun…”
Meanwhile, back in the Crescenta Valley we also have above normal temperatures. Friday is predicted to be the warmest day with highs well into the 80s. Come the weekend and the beginning of next week the southern tip of two weak frontal systems bring a very slight chance of rain.
A few more “drops in the bucket!”
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.