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Fans advised to seek shelter from strong winds at Olympic Park

Kyodo

Organizers temporarily shut shops in Olympic Park in Gangneung and advised spectators to seek shelter indoors due to strong winds on Wednesday afternoon at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

An official announcement advising fans to move inside for their safety was made at 4:30 p.m. at the Olympics’ coastal hub.

A refrigerator was toppled and shop awnings were ripped open by the gusts, which, according to the South Korean meteorological agency, reached average speeds of 10 meters per second at 5 p.m.

Spectators were forced to lean into the winds that bent trees, scattered dust and whipped up plastic bags.

Volunteers had to hold metal poles supporting a security check tent to keep the structure from blowing away. The workers were even forced to stop using a metal detector at one point, a very uncommon occurrence at the Olympic Games where security is always stringent.

Strong wind warnings have been issued several times during the Winter Games, which run through Feb. 25.

On Wednesday, warning alarms went off simultaneously from cellphones as the men’s figure skating draw was being held ahead of Friday’s short program.

A media work tent near the hockey venue was also closed ahead of a women’s game between Japan and Korea.