A week ago today… the Olympic torch was lit in Sochi and the Winter Olympics officially commenced. In honor of the 2014 winter Olympics… we thought we'd introduce you to the climate of the city that's playing host to 2,500 Olympians… Sochi.
Sochi holds the distinction of being the first city with a subtropical climate to host the Winter Games. Its yearly climatology shares more in common with Summer Olympics host Atlanta than previous winter hosts such as Torino… Italy, or Lake Placid… N.Y.
Sochi's average high temperature during February is 50.1°F. The average low temperature doesn't even crack freezing in February… bottoming out at 35.1°F.
These numbers come with a caveat… though. While Sochi has some weather data available going back more than 100 years… better quality data is only available back to 1997. That means meteorologists for the Games have had their hands full getting a handle on the region's weather.
Sochi has one ingredient that makes it ideal for snow sports: mountains. Located in the southwest corner of Russia… Sochi is hemmed in by the Black Sea to the west and the Caucasus Mountains to the east. The highest point in the Caucasus Mountains… Mount Elbrus… reaches a height of 18,510 feet, but snow sports venues for the Games sit between 2,000-6,560 feet.
Even at the lower and middle range of those heights… balmy weather is still a concern and Sochi organizers have installed more than 400 snow guns and stashed 16 million cubic feet of snow from last year to make sure races go off without a hitch.
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