Alexa

After rain and wind, will snow be next at Euro 2008? Let's hope not, say organizers

After rain and wind, will snow be next at Euro 2008? Let's hope not, say organizers

After days of rain showers and unseasonably chilly temperatures, European Championship organizers are hoping that speculation in local newspapers that snow could be on the way is just the product of an overexcited imagination.
Rain has pelted down across co-hosts Austria and Switzerland much of this week, and when it hasn't been raining, it's still been cloudy and cool for the most part. That's a big change from the hot and dry weather expected across central Europe at this time of year.
Organizers have already said that they don't expect rain to dampen fans' enthusiasm at stadiums and open-air parties across the two countries, but the only thought given to snow has been how to get an artistic representation of the stuff from 600 on-field actors at the opening ceremony in Basel.
Until now.
"We hope the only snow we have is in the opening ceremony, which is only symbolic," Euro 2008 spokesman Pascale Voegeli said Saturday. "We don't have a contingency and we don't want to know anything about it, to be honest."
But rain has been forecast for Saturday, when Switzerland meets the Czech Republic in Basel and Portugal plays Turkey in Geneva, and snow in June isn't unheard of in this part of the world.
Two years ago, snow hit southern Germany on June 1. One of the cities dusted with the white stuff was Munich, which hosted the opening game of the World Cup just eight days later.
Fortunately for all, temperatures had soared by then and almost the entire monthlong tournament was played under bright sunshine, so the optimism of organizers at Euro 2008 may not be entirely misplaced. They only have to hope the weather holds out for three weeks, after all.
And they could do with a lucky break.
A huge, helium-filled football over Lake Geneva has been a troubled symbol for the European Championship host city after it was damaged by storms and disappeared from view, while Swiss and Austrian meteorological services have launched Web sites to keep fans up-to-date on the latest weather forecasts.