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Yanqing’s dedication to meteorological security praised by officials, athletes

Yanqing’s dedication to meteorological security praised by officials, athletes

A special team of winter electricity maintenance technicians is ready for the Winter Olympic Games 2022 in Yanqing’s National Alpine Skiing Centre Photo: State Grid’s Winter Olympics maintenance group

Considering the complexity and unpredictability of the weather caused by its mountainous location, Yanqing, with a largest altitude drop among the three competition zones of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, took great responsibility securing the safety of the Games by assembling a highly professional meteorological team.

Halfway through the Beijing Winter Games and after a heavy snowfall on Saturday, the Yanqing competition zone has made sure all events would be successful, overcoming great challenges.

The entire operations team in Yanqing has been praised by visiting athletes and officials.

The alpine events to be held in the Yanqing zone are greatly affected by the weather, especially wind speed and visibility. With an altitude drop of more than 2,000 meters, Haituo Mountain has mountain climate characteristics and weather here is extremely difficult to forecast, which poses a huge challenge to the meteorological service.

Since the opening of the Winter Games on February 4, Yanqing has designated a 49-member meteorological service team for the weather forecast and response, said Yan Wei, head of the Yanqing Meteorological Bureau, at a news conference on Tuesday.

Yanqing has established a comprehensive weather monitoring network, which provides real-time weather monitoring data covering the competition area and the surrounding areas through automatic weather stations, weather radar, microwave radiometer and other detection equipment, said Yan.

Yanqing’s forecasting system has achieved a 10-minute follow-up cycle with 100-meter resolution for the Yanqing competition zone, and can simulate nearly 100 weather situations in 3D meteorological high-definition simulation data set.

From Saturday to Tuesday, the first snowfall of the Winter Olympics was reported to the Yanqing venue operation group eight days in advance, Yan said.

From 4 am Sunday to 5 am Monday, the venue operations team assigned 122 operators and 72 vehicles and equipment to work 25 hours to guarantee the snow and ice removal work in competition areas. The traffic security team deployed 784 people to continuously clear snow, successfully guaranteeing the smooth flow of key Olympic routes.

On February 6, however, the alpine skiing men’s downhill was affected by strong winds, and was rescheduled to the next day.

It is very common that a race in mountain competitions at the Winter Olympics is postponed because of extreme weathers. Such postponements had occurred in several previous Winter Games, so the Games organizers made emergence plans before the start of the Beijing 2022, Yan told the Global Times.

Yan said that during the windy weather, the forecasting team studied and assessed the wind speed changes every hour, informed the weather situation, and provided forecasting service for the competition adjustment, which was affirmed by the chief judge of the Winter Olympic Alpine Skiing. On February 7, the rescheduled event was successfully held on time.

“The team’s forecasts have always been accurate and deserve our trust,” said Federation International de Ski (FIS) Communications Director Jenny Wiedeke, praising the Yanqing weather team.

In addition to the meteorological security, the Yanqing Winter Olympic Village has also received praise from athletes and the IOC officials for its attentive and meticulous services.

Benjamin Alexander, an alpine skier from Jamaica, became a dance partner with the volunteers in the athletes’ restaurant. The Olympic Village team also planned a birthday party for Italian luger Leon Felderer on January 30, making him a birthday cake and singing him a happy birthday song, which he described as a total surprise.

The Olympic Village’s service center has received more than 10 handwritten letters of praise from athletes from various countries, said Jia Qian, media manager of the village.

On Friday, IOC President Thomas Bach visited the Yanqing Olympic Village and praised the food served there, saying that he would “gain five kilograms if I stay for three days.”