Olympics 2012

Sun may shine on Olympics

2012-07-17 20:38
London Olympics (File)

London - The sun may, just may, shine on the London Olympics.

The Met Office, which forecasts the weather in one of the world's most fickle climates, said on Tuesday that the rain that has soaked England for weeks and kept temperatures cool could give way to sunshine in time for the opening ceremony on July 27.

"Southern areas (of England) are likely to see some drier, sunny spells" starting this weekend, the Met Office said. "Temperatures mostly near or a little below normal in the north and west but probably above average in places ... with the prospect of some pleasant, more seasonal conditions at times, especially towards southern and central areas."

Apart from raining on London's parade, the weather has been worrying organizers of equestrian and rowing events, where venues have been waterlogged by weeks of constant rain.

Despite the positive forecast, don't expect a repeat of the heat from Athens in 2004 or Beijing in 2008.

"A lengthy spell of hot, sunny weather does look unlikely," the Met Office said.

Games chairperson Sebastian Coe acknowledged the weather was turning out to be a problem.

"We've got mops and buckets" to deal with the incessant rain that has soaked London for most of the summer, he said. The ground at two key venues is waterlogged - the rowing at Eton Dorney west of London and the equestrian at Greenwich Park, south of the Thames river.

"It is a problem," Coe said. "It is causing us extra challenges now."

Coe said organizers are resurfacing areas at the two venues, laying down temporary tracking for vehicles and spectators and putting up special tent shelters to keep the work force dry.

Coe noted that organizers have contingency plans in case the weather does not improve.

Extra competition days were built into the schedule "as a last resort" for rowing and equestrian. There is an alternate course available for sailing events at Weymouth, in southern England, and Wimbledon has a retractable roof over Centre Court for tennis.

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