China issues blizzard alert in first Beijing snowfall of Olympics

Posted at 10:47 PM, Feb 12, 2022

For an Olympics that has made headlines for its man-made snow, the weather has a mind of its own. The China Meteorological Administration issued a blizzard warning for Sunday saying significant snowfall is expected in large parts of northern China including Beijing, the capital and current site of the Winter Olympics.

The weekend snowfall, which had already begun in some areas on Saturday, is the capital's first since the Winter Olympics opened on Feb. 4. It is rare for Beijing to receive actual snowfall, so twice in 10 days is rare for the capital of China. In a typical year, Beijing usually sees less than six inches of snow total.

The women's freeski slopestyle qualification in Zhangjiakou, was rescheduled to later Sunday due to the snow. The men's giant slalom has also been impacted by the heavy snow. Officials are attempting to finish the second run of the event, after the men already completed their first run. Start times were condensed to try and fit in more skiers in a shorter time.

The second training session for the women’s downhill race was also canceled due to the expected snowfall. Training was supposed to start at 11:00am local time (10 p.m. ET). The race is scheduled to be held on Tuesday (Monday night in the U.S.).

American Mikaela Shiffrin made light of the situation tweeting the downtime left her too much time to think about how she fell asleep with goldfish in her bed. An unpleasant accident most people have made before.

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The authorities issued a blue blizzard warning, the lowest of the country's four-tiered alerts, with some regions forecast to receive up to 1.6 inches of snow. They advised the public to cut back on unnecessary outdoor activities.

"It is expected that there will be heavy snow in parts of central and southern Inner Mongolia, northern Shanxi, central and northern Hebei, northern Beijing, southern Tianjin, eastern and southern Liaoning, and Xinjiang along the Tianshan Mountains today," the China Meteorological Administration notice said.

As far as whether it’s cold enough to snow, the temperatures in Beijing dropped to 21 degrees Fahrenheit. For an Olympics known for not having natural snow, it’s certainly starting to look like a more traditional Winter Olympic venue.