Most of the world may be experiencing unseasonably warm weather this winter — but the forecasts tell a very different story for Pyeongchang, South Korea, where temperatures could be as low as 7 degrees Fahrenheit on the night of the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
Should the forecasts hold, the Pyeongchang Olympics would beat the Games’ previous record low of 11 degrees Fahrenheit, held by the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
At almost 2,500 feet above sea level, Pyeongchang is one of the coldest regions of South Korea. It’s also known for particularly severe winds during the winter. The stadium that will house the opening ceremony on Feb. 9 doesn’t have a roof or central heating, which could exacerbate the problem; six people who attended a concert in that very stadium last month reported getting hypothermia in the cold.
Still, Olympics organizers are making efforts to keep their guests comfortable: They’re planning to provide heating pads and blankets to spectators, as well as to sell hot food and drinks. But ultimately, everyone will just have to “bundle up,” according to one resident — just like the Pyeongchang locals do.
Although this is shaping up to be a tough winter for the Olympics, it’s not the first time weather troubles have affected the winter Games. During both the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, the warmth of the hosting cities required some creative solutions to make up for the lack of snow.