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Predicting Vancouver's weather: an unofficial Olympic event

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Mike Segar/Reuters

(Read caption) Clouds and fog hang over the Whistler Creekside area after the after two Alpine Skiing events were postponed due to weather.

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Every Whistler local jokes that the weather forecasts here are so unpredictable that it’s no use paying attention to them.

Robbie Dixon, a local member of Canada’s Olympic alpine ski team, says he just looks outside to see what kind of day it’s going to be.

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But for the officials, groomers, and volunteers who have to prepare the courses each day, and the team technicians that have to make athletes’ skis and snowboards run as fast as possible in conditions that can drastically change from hour to hour, the meteorologist reports here are crucially important.

Nicholas Major of Quebec is one of six meteorologists working at Whistler Olympic Park, the venue for Nordic events. He and his team have to prepare highly detailed, hourly forecasts. Even though he’s from Quebec, he says he’s been forecasting for this area for more than 10 years. Part of what he and his team has done is look at patterns.

So far, he says with a smile, their reports have been highly accurate.

Maybe the locals should start paying attention.

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