J9.1 Forecasting for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and decision support services

Monday, 24 January 2011: 12:00 AM
615-617 (Washington State Convention Center)
Douglas McDonnal, NOAA/NWS, Seattle, WA

During the 2010 Winter Olympics, detailed forecasts were prepared by Environment Canada's teams of venue forecasters for each of the competition venues. These venue forecasts were made possible by a network of observational equipment and fine-resolution NWP models that provided a strong understanding of the local mesoscale meteorology. The forecasting during the Winter Games was also the culmination of four years of training that included classroom exercises, workshops, and most importantly forecast practica at each of the venues.

While the accuracy of the venue forecasts was certainly critical to the success of the competitive events, it would have little value without the proper communication to all of the diverse groups of users. The main focus of this presentation will be along the lines of the overall AMS Annual Meeting theme on communicating weather. The forecasts were disseminated routinely via a website and by email to the clients; however, the direct communication of the forecast was at least equally important. This was accomplished formally and informally, through schedule Team Captains Meetings and impromptu briefings. The briefings also needed to be adapted to a wide range of user sophistication, ranging from the venue managers and groomers to volunteers who had arrived at the beginning of the Games with little knowledge of the local area, the weather, or its effects on competition.

A brief overview of the role of an Olympics forecaster will be followed by a description of the forecast process and the dissemination of those forecasts to the spectrum of users. Insights and lessons learned will be discussed.

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