| USA TODAY
Howling winds roaring into South Korea from Siberia wreaked havoc at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Sunday and Monday, with several events either disrupted or postponed due to fierce gusts of up to 40 mph.
While several downhill ski events were postponed until later in the week, a women’s snowboard event went on as scheduled Monday, frustrating competitors.
Saying the wind was an extraordinary challenge, riders endured some of the worst weather conditions they could remember. The contest featured far more crashes than landed runs as the women battled strong gusts of wind from changing directions.
Some athletes were being blown sideways while flipping and twisting 20-plus feet in the air.
“The women’s snowboard slopestyle competition shouldn’t have been held in extremely windy conditions,” USA TODAY Sports reporter Rachel Axon said.
More: Slopestyle competition never should have been held in massive winds
High winds will remain a concern for events Tuesday and Wednesday when gusts could again surpass 40 mph, AccuWeather meteorologist Eric Leister said.
AccuWeather meteorologist Adam Douty added that “ski jumping on the large hill may have to be postponed. Other alpine events could see significant impacts.”
The Winter Olympics are often at the mercy of weather, with frequent delays or postponements due to wind, fog, snow or even warmth.
In the past 30 years alone, wind delayed Alpine skiing events at Calgary in 1988, Nagano in 1998, Salt Lake City in 2002 and Torino in 2006, according to Olympstats.com.
But there’s good news in the forecast for later in the week: Downhill ski events rescheduled for Thursday and Friday should go off without a hitch, with less fierce winds forecast for those days, Leister said.
More: How the fierce winds are impacting the 2018 Winter Olympics competition
Other than the wind, the weather, overall, should be pretty decent this week, with no big rain or snow events that would cause further problems, he said.
However, another storm system passing to the north will again kick up stronger winds by Saturday and into early next week.
Strong winds in Pyeongchang should not have come as a surprise to Olympic organizers.
The city is notorious in February for a powerful, bitterly cold 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. A wind gust of 76 mph was once recorded there, equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane, weather.com said.
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, both of which are far milder due to their lower elevation and proximity to the ocean.
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