The weather could factor into the return of sports and the fans by John Roach•
|United States’ Katie Ledecky wins the gold medal in the women’s 200-meter freestyle during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)|
No American female swimmer has won more individual Olympic gold medals than Katie Ledecky. Her four overall – tied with 1988 star Janet Evans – include one in 2012 and three in a dominating 2016 showing when her winning smile was ever-present during NBC’s coverage of women’s swimming.These days, she is in a significantly less conspicuous setting: a California backyard pool doing laps in one of the few places still available because of the coronavirus shutdown. Living near the Stanford campus, Ledecky and Olympic gold-medal teammate Simone Manuel train with 2020 U.S. Olympic Women’s Swimming coach Greg Meehan to stay in shape for Olympic competition that is currently postponed until July 23-August 8 2021.”We have this little workout every day in a backyard pool and you’ve got two of the greatest athletes in the world next to each other,” Meehan told AccuWeather. „They don’t have access to [a 50-meter Olympic-sized pool] but it’s better than nothing.”
|United States swimmer Katie Ledecky’s coach Greg Meehan gestures as he talks to reporters at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)|
The sports world figuratively is dipping its toe in the pool trying to determine when, or if, it’s safe to return to action or to start a new season. Major League Baseball is in discussions with its Players Association to start the season perhaps by the Fourth of July. The NFL just released its schedule for the 2020 season after holding a virtual NFL Draft last month. The NBA and NHL seasons are on hold, although a Mixed Martial Arts event was held Saturday with more upcoming this week, and NASCAR will begin its racing season Sunday.
The weather’s role could be a determining factor into whether other sports are held or if fans will be able to attend any events. Fans were not allowed to attend the MMA event and there won’t be any at the NASCAR races.
„Clearly you are more at risk in a basketball arena than you are in an outdoor stadium where the air is circulating,” said AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers. „Now, it does not circulate perhaps as much, unless it is windy, because the stadium itself provides somewhat of a shell even if it is outside. But the air is mixing more; whether all the air in a stadium is completely replaced every five minutes or every 20 minutes depends on the wind and the turbulence and other things.
„But inside a basketball arena, the replacement of the air depends entirely on the ventilation system,” Myers said. „The ventilation system actually could be recirculating the air – unless it cleanses the air greatly with UV rays that may kill the virus. So it may be doing nothing to prevent the spread.”
Swimmers have a unique advantage compared to other athletes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced, „There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.”
The individual nature of swimming also helps. „It’s about as good of an environment athletically as you could have, certainly better than football or basketball where they’re just contacting each other constantly throughout the course of the practice or a game,” Meehan told AccuWeather.
That doesn’t mean Meehan, Ledecky and Manuel haven’t had their own difficulties during their sessions, along with the mental wear of having to put life on hold for another year-plus. Sometimes Mother Nature piles on.
„If it’s just raining, we kind of press ahead,” Meehan told AccuWeather. „But if we’re getting any kind of severe weather, strong winds, any kind of thunderstorms, then that’s when we pause and take time away.”
For athletes – and sports fans – pausing and taking time away has become the new norm.
Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
- The U.S. can expect a “hotter-than-average” summer, according to the The Weather Channel.
- After the warmest January in 141 years, global temperatures in 2020 are on track to be among the hottest ever recorded.
Don’t be fooled by the random snow and frigid winds that took over Mother’s Day weekend in many parts of the country. The next few months are going to be sizzling. The Weather Channel reports that most of the U.S. can plan on having a “hotter-than-average” summer in 2020.
May will end with “temperatures near average or slightly warmer from the Northeast and mid-Atlantic into the Midwest, as well as along the West Coast,” The Weather Channel reports. The South and interior West can also expect above-average temps through May, while parts of northern North Dakota and Minnesota may see below-average numbers for this month.
But things will heat up quickly. In June and July, temperatures will be nearly or slightly above average in basically every part of the country. And getting into August, most states will experience higher-than-normal heat, with the highest spike hitting various parts of the Northwest, including eastern Washington and Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, western Wyoming, northern Utah, and northeastern Nevada.
A hot summer should come as no surprise. After all, we kicked off 2020 with the warmest January in 141 years. Through March, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that global land and ocean surface temperatures hit a new high since 1880—2.07 degrees Fahrenheit above average, per Scientific American.
Karin Gleason, a climatologist with the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), told The New York Times that they’re “virtually certain that 2020 will rank top 10 years on record,” she said.
In fact, one NCEI analysis concluded that 2020 has a 49% chance of being the warmest year ever, and a 98% chance that it will rank among the top five ever recorded. So, yes, it’s going to be a hot one.