With just over two months remaining until the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, the first snow of the season is on the way for the region.
A storm system will slide through northern Turkey and into Georgia Friday. A swath of rain and snow is likely on the northern fringe of the storm. Pulling in moisture from the Black Sea, the quick-moving storm will also interact with cold air located to the north allowing for snow.
While the city of Sochi itself should get only some snowflakes mixed with a chilly rain, the Caucasus Mountains east of the city, a prime location for the winter games, can receive 10-20 cm (4-8 inches) of snow Friday.
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Eric Wanenchak noted, "The relatively warm water of the Black Sea will help keep the precipitation mainly rain for Sochi, but air rising into the mountains will cool, allowing for snow."
This mountain snow is crucial to skiing and sliding sports come February. These sports will take place just 30 minutes from Sochi in Krasnaya Polyana and surrounding mountains.
The past several days have featured bouts of rain for the region while temperatures have dropped from around 20 to 10 degrees C.
As AccuWeather.com detailed in April, game organizers have been storing snow in the event that there is not enough of a base when the games start.
After this first round of snow exits in time for the weekend, another brief batch of wintry weather may target the area late Sunday and Monday. A dry and cool weather pattern is expected for the rest of next week.
The town of Sochi, located on the Black Sea in the Krasnodar region of Russia, has similar winter weather to the 2010 Olympic host city of Vancouver. The city does not receive a lot of snow due to the milder air of the Black Sea, but the Caucasus mountains just to the east receive plenty of snow in a typical winter.
"Sochi, Russia, is located on the sea and is one of the warmest areas in Russia," said AccuWeather Senior Expert Meteorologist Jim Andrews. The temperature in Sochi averages in the mid 30s during the months of December through February.
The town of Sochi averaged 7.9 inches of precipitation in January with an average monthly temperature of 33 degrees F.
Thumbnail image of Caucasus mountains courtesy of Photos.com.