Winter Olympics get off to a frigid start this weekend

So far, this winter has been colder than average in the Tri-Cities. As we look to warm up and face some rain this weekend, Winter Olympics athletes and attendees will be braving some bitter cold in PyeongChang.

For a city that's already dropped below zero this winter, this is not a welcomed sight in their forecast.

Data obtained from our friends at Climate Central shows that the average temperature (between high and low) during this two week stretch is 23.4° in PyeongChang.

A map made by Brian Brettschneider shows how PyeongChang's 'average' temperature in February is similar to that of the northern US. This includes cities like Des Moines, Detroit, Albany, etc (areas shaded in yellow below).

Warmer winters and decreasing snowpack has ski resorts around the world, however, working to maintain sustainability. In 2010 in Vancouver, the snowpack was melting. In the 2014 games in Sochi, the highest temperature during the Games reached 68°F. Not exactly 'wintry...'

This time around, things are looking much different.

Forecast data shows Sunday morning temperatures to be around the single digits around PyeongChang, meaning a bitter cold start to the Games this weekend. Wind chills may get even colder than that.

According to the Washington Post, security scanners stopped working due to the cold on February 3rd. This happened during a test run of the security system. While the US athletes will be wearing battery-powered heated jackets at the Opening Ceremony on Friday, there is a concern for hypothermia among attendees.

In an NBC News article, Dr. Dave Weinstein with Team USA said, "The athletes are pretty well insulated for the hypothermia but, for somebody out here watching the sports, it can occur as quickly as 45 minutes."

While our forecast calls for rain and milder temperatures this weekend, you can enjoy the Winter Olympics from a much colder end of the world on News 5 WCYB.

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