This year’s Winter Olympic games may set a new record for being the coldest since the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
Below-freezing temperatures will make this year’s Winter Olympics live up to its chilly seasonal name.
The Games, which begin Thursday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will easily be the coldest since the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
Those 1994 Games were among the coldest on record, according to AccuWeather.
At a rehearsal Saturday for the opening ceremony, for example, the temperature was 6 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill factor of 7 below zero — so severely cold that audiences walked out in the middle of the rehearsal, according to local reports.
USA TODAY sports columnist Christine Brennan said that “everyone is bundled up nearly beyond recognition to guard against the frostbite that descended on some poor souls who attended recent outdoor events in the region.”
The city is notorious for a powerful, biting wind that gathers force as it barrels down out of Siberia and the Manchurian Plain and then across the jagged granite peaks of North Korea.
Fortunately, the forecast for Friday’s opening ceremony is slightly less brutal: an air temperature of around 32 degrees, with wind chills in the upper teens, AccuWeather predicts.
The ceremony will take place under mostly cloudy skies, with a chance for snow flurries.
At the ceremony, each spectator will receive heating pads, a blanket and a raincoat. Team USA athletes will also be fitted in special uniforms and heated parkas to stay warm.
Meteorologists have likened the chill in South Korea to February weather in Des Moines or Albany, N.Y., NBC News reported.
A normal high temperature for Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang is 30 degrees, and the normal low is 12 degrees. According to data compiled by the Pyeongchang organizing committee, February temperatures over the past decade there averaged 23 degrees.
Pyeongchang, located in the mountains of northeastern South Korea, is the coldest city on Earth that’s so far to the south, according to AccuWeather.
The city is on roughly the same latitude as San Francisco and Virginia Beach, Va., both of which are far milder due to their lower elevation and proximity to the ocean.
These Olympics will be a stark contrast to previous Winter Olympics in Sochi and Vancouver, which had concerns about a lack of snow and unusually mild temperatures.
The temperature soared to 61 degrees one day at the Sochi Games in 2014.
And in both cities, there were reports of ski jumpers landing in puddles of water rather than snow.
That won’t be a problem in Pyeongchang.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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