PyeongChang Weater Feb 1

It’s a week away. I’m so excited. I’m getting chills.

I will be in South Korea for the opening ceremonies of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, with the world’s best winter sports athletes, world leaders, celebrities, the North Korean cheering squad and 35,000 other participants….freezing our butts off.

I routinely look at the weather app on my iPhone for the temperature in the area of the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, and it’s always minus-something celsius. In fact, over the past ten years, the average temperature of this northern part of South Korea is -5.8 Celsius.

And because the Olympic Stadium was built without a roof – to save costs – there are fears that the cutting winds of that area will give the “lucky” spectators a chance to sit for 4-5 hours in a wind chill of -12 degrees. This may not be healthy. According to this article, six people were treated for hypothermia at a concert they attended in the Olympic Stadium in November, 2017.

In order to prevent the mountain winds from sweeping through the stadium, organizers have built a wall 3.5 meters high, that circles around the stadium for 350 meters, which they hope will keep the wind chill down. They will also hand out blankets and heat packs to each of the participants. You can bet I will have those little instant heat packs all over my very layered body.

Here is one of a great set of FAQs on the PyeongChang Olympics from the Associated Press:

Q:  What’s the weather like?

A:  Bundle up. Gangwon Province is one of the country’s coldest places. The wind is brutal, and the stadium for the nighttime opening and closing ceremonies is open air and has no heating system. Locals make it a matter of pride not to complain about daily wintertime life, but visitors risk misery if they’re unprepared.

Fortunately, misery loves company…and maybe 35,000 people together can bring the heat!

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tokyo heat WSJ
from the Wall Street Journal
I had always wondered why the 1964 Olympic Summer Games took place in October, which is a beautiful time in Japan, primarily because it is Autumn.

One reason was to avoid the typhoons of summer in Japan, which could possibly wreak havoc on a tight two-week schedule. Another reason was possibly to avoid the heat and humidity of August in Tokyo.

That is the reason raised by Terrie Lloyd, a Japan-hand who currently writes and consults on tourism in Japan. In his latest post, he wondered why officials set the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo in late July, early August. As Lloyd pointed out, we suffered through horrible heat in that period this year, with temperatures ranging from 35 to 38 degrees celsius (95 to 100 degrees fahrenheit). He claims that the actual feel on the street averaged something closer to 47-50 degrees!

The Wall Street Journal stated that “since 1964, average July-August temperatures in Tokyo have risen several degrees, as heat radiating off asphalt and buildings and coming out of car exhausts and air conditioners remains trapped at night.”

Lloyd claims that if temperatures hit an average of 38 degrees at this time in 2020, the Tokyo Summer Games would be the hottest in 120 years.

So he asks, why July/August? Well, that may seem more obvious if you follow the money. NBC has paid a king’s ransom to broadcast the 2020 Games in the U.S., and would rather not have to compete with the NBA championships in June, or the NFL season that starts in September, or the World Series that plays out in October.

By the way, if you visit Tokyo in August, it’s hot and muggy. The only good thing about that? A cold beer tastes absolutely heavenly!

ichiban shibori