The 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will be hosted by Salt Lake City, Utah, during February–March 2002. Adverse weather during this period may delay sporting events, while snow and ice-covered streets and highways may impede access by the athletes and spectators to the venues. While winter snowstorms and other large-scale weather systems typically have widespread impacts throughout northern Utah, hazardous winter weather is often related to local terrain features (the Wasatch Mountains and Great Salt Lake are the most prominent ones). Examples of such hazardous weather include lake-effect snowstorms, ice fog, gap winds, down-slope windstorms, and low visibility over mountain passes.

A weather support system has been developed to provide weather information to the athletes, games officials, spectators, and the interested public around the world. This system is managed by the Salt Lake Olympic Committee and relies upon meteorologists from the public, private, and academic sectors of the atmospheric science community. Weather forecasting duties will be led by National Weather Service forecasters and a team of private weather forecasters organized by KSL, the Salt Lake City NBC television affiliate. Other government agencies, commercial firms, and the University of Utah are providing specialized forecasts and support services for the Olympics. The weather support system developed for the 2002 Winter Olympics is expected to provide long-term benefits to the public through improved understanding, monitoring, and prediction of winter weather in the Intermountain West.

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Footnotes

NOAA/Cooperative Institute for Regional Prediction, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City Weather Forecast Office, Salt Lake City, Utah

KSL, Salt Lake City, Utah