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London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

London 2012 Olympic Stadium

Olympic organisers and athletes have praised the Met Office for accurate forecasts during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Olympic organisers and athletes have praised the Met Office for accurate forecasts during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

What we did

The Met Office worked with LOCOG for over two years in preparation for London 2012. During the Games, we provided weather forecasts to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic 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.

Highly trained and experienced 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. Our forecasters provided round-the-clock support and advice on weather conditions throughout the Games.

High resolution forecasting was just one area where we extended our science and technology capability for the Olympic and Paralympic games. We also introduced daily air quality forecasts on our website for over 5,000 locations, increased wind and wave modelling for Weymouth and Portland and new weather observing technology to support our weather forecasts and modelling capability.

Forecast examples

Opening ceremony

The forecast for the day 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.

Rowing at Eton Dorney

Our team of 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 use this advice to ensure the sport in question takes place fairly and safely. As a result of our forecast for cross winds, the organisers decided to postpone the start of the race and change the lane allocation on a couple of competition days.

Cora Zillich, LOCOG spokeswoman based at the Eton Dorney rowing venue, said: "Here at Eton Dorney we have 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."

Sailing at Weymouth and Portland

Similarly to at Eton Dorney our onsite forecasters provided regularly updated advice to the competition organisers. During the sailing competition our forecasters advised five days ahead of developing high pressure which would cause winds to fall very light.

As forecast, the high pressure brought very light winds, and the Met Office 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'."

Tennis at Wimbledon

Over the finals weekend the Met Office accurately forecast a showery spell of weather. However our advice that showers would clear on Sunday morning allowed the organisers at Wimbledon to have confidence that it was going to stay dry so they could open the roof - and keep it open - for the men's singles final.

Weather during the Olympics and Paralympics

The Olympics and Paralympics saw a period of average summer weather which was sunnier, warmer and drier than summer 2012 as a whole.

During the Olympics Met Office statistics together with comparisons to the long-term average, show:

  • The temperature in central London reached at least 20 °C during each day of the period of the Olympics, with an average daily maximum temperature of 23 °C - very close to the expected average of 22.8 °C.
  • The highest temperature recorded was 27.8 °C recorded at St James's Park on Thursday 9 August. The final day, which included the men's marathon, saw 27 °C.
  • London missed out on the heaviest of the showers that affected the UK in the last fortnight. St James's Park recorded 19 mm of rain during the 16 days of sport for the games, just below the expected average for that time period of around 25 mm.
  • We have recorded 105.1 hours of sunshine at Heathrow in the period 28 July to 12 August. This brings the total of the 16 day period to spot-on the expected average of 105 hours.

For the Paralympic period:

  • The temperature in central London reached at least 20 °C on all but three days and exceeded 25 °C during five days. The average daily maximum temperature was 23 °C, the same as during the Olympics and 2 °C higher than the average.
  • In total, 87.1 hours of bright sunshine was recorded, which is around 136 percent of the expected average.
  • The Paralympics saw a very dry period with 2.2 mm of rain recorded, much less than the long term average of 18.1 mm.

Weather summary

Weather summary
Top temperature28.6 °C on the 9 September
Hours of sunshine192.2 in total
Rainfall21.2 mm in total

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