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Praise for Met Office weather forecast accuracy during Olympic sailing events

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 10, 2012

Huge crowds enjoyed the London 2012 Olympic sailing events in Weymouth

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Olympic organisers and athletes have praised the Met Office for the accuracy of their forecasts during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Met Office worked with LOCOG for over two years in preparation for London 2012. During the Games, they provided weather forecasts to the Games organisers, for the competing athletes and their coaches and also for visitors and those responsible for the massive logistical exercise of transporting and ensuring the safety of huge numbers of visitors.

Met Office forecasters with an understanding of the sports they were forecasting for worked alongside Games organisers in London, Weymouth and Portland and Eton Dorney. They provided round-the-clock support and advice on weather conditions throughout the Games.

They also introduced daily air quality forecasts for over 5,000 locations, increased wind and wave modelling for Weymouth and Portland and new weather observing technology.

The forecast for the day of the opening ceremony predicted showers clearing throughout the day – with only a small chance of a shower at Olympic Park during the ceremony itself. As forecast, the Olympic Park saw a brief shower in the run-up to the opening ceremony but the main event stayed dry.

During the sailing competition in Dorset, Met Office forecasters advised five days ahead of developing high pressure which would cause winds to fall very light. The forecasters at Weymouth and Portland worked with organisers to help them manage the race schedule.

Rod Carr, London 2012 Field of Play Manager at Weymouth and Portland, said: “The Met Office team were first class – not only in the technical accuracy of the forecasts, but also the quality of the daily briefings and their ability to engage meaningfully with the race management teams. The International Sailing Federation and several national team leaders were also very complimentary about the forecast service, with several saying it was the best met service they had ever experienced at a Games.”

Met Office forecasters at Eton Dorney provided weather information including wind speed and direction, rainfall and lightning information to the rowing organisers throughout the event. The event organisers then used this advice to ensure the sport in question took place fairly and safely.

Cora Zillich, LOCOG spokeswoman based at the Eton Dorney rowing venue, said: “At Eton Dorney we worked very closely with colleagues at the Met Office to support the race scheduling. The advice we received was absolutely spot on, to allow us to complete a successful day’s racing on schedule.”

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