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      Palm Trees & Snow: Weather in Sochi, Russia

      Opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics is just days away. If youâ??re like me, you might be wondering what the weather is like in Sochi. How is it compared to here in Upper Michigan?

      I asked Matt Zika, Meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township, about what we might expect. He said, "If you're going to try to compare the climate from Sochi to here in Upper Michigan, there are really not a whole lot of similarities. The biggest one is we're both located next to large bodies of water. Sochi is right on the coast of the Black Sea, and we're obviously surrounded by the Great Lakes up here."

      Sochi, Russia and Marquette, Michigan both sit on essentially the same latitude line. But the humid, subtropical climate makes Sochi more of a summertime destination. It's actually one of the warmest spots in Russia. So how did a city dotted with palm trees end up being the destination for the Winter Games?

      Sochi, bordered by the Black Sea, also sits in the western foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. And that mountainous terrain is great for snow. They typically receive twice the annual precipitation that we get. That means the indoor events, like speed skating and curling, will be easily accessible within the city itself. But higher up, there's already a blanket of snow on all the outdoor Olympic venues.

      I also had a chance to speak with Gordon Maclean, founder of the Copper Country Curling Club. Heâ??s been there before. Hereâ??s what he had to say about his experience, "When I was there last year, it was in the upper 50s, low 60s. There are lots of palm trees. It maybe goes down below freezing at night but not very often. But back where the outside events will be, they have lots of snow."

      Maclean also volunteered during the Winter Games in Vancouver, which shares a similar climate with Sochi. According to Maclean, most of us would be quite comfortable within the sunny confines of the city. But as spectators, we'd probably want to layer up in those mountain peaks.

      And just in case it does get too warm and some snow melts, Olympic officials have stockpiled 500,000 cubic meters of snow to ensure prime conditions for the athletes.