Olympics Organizers Worry About Icy Weather at Opening

  • By Seok Nam-jun, Joo Hyung-sik

    December 21, 2017 11:30

    Organizers of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang are more concerned about forecasts of freezing weather for the outdoor opening ceremony than about North Korean provocations and low ticket sales.

    On Tuesday, the weather was punishingly cold in Daegwallyeong in Pyeongchang, where the opening and closing ceremonies are scheduled. A Chosun Ilbo reporter brought a mobile phone with 43-percent battery power left, which took just over an hour to go dead.

    Within two hours, a bottle of water the reporter bought in a convenience store turned into a solid block of ice.

    The temperature in the afternoon was only -7.7 degrees Celsius but plunged to -14 with the windchill factor, which is roughly the same as the forecast for opening day on Feb. 9 by the Korea Meteorological Administration. By 9 p.m. the mercury dipped to -10.5 or -18.1 including windchill.

    A reporter endures the cold in a stadium in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province on Tuesday.

    Spectators will have to spend about five hours in the outdoor stadium if they want to see the whole opening ceremony.

    Organizers plan to set up 40 gas heaters as well as scores of shelters, hand out blankets and heat-generating hot packs to spectators. They will also encourage spectators to move their limbs at regular intervals to avoid hypothermia.

    Lee Ik-joo, an official at the organizing committee, said, "Wear woolly hats, earmuffs, gloves and masks as well as dressing in layers to keep warm."

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