Chaos at orienteering World Cup

There were chaotic scenes today at the World Cup Middle Race final in Aydat (France). Ferocious winds took out the power across a huge area of France, and knocked out the organisers systems as well as blowing down many trees in the area. One hotel was seen to lose its roof in the storms, and in light of the situation, organisers cancelled the race. However, a number of competitors, including most of the women, had already started the race. Only 5 out of 53 finished though, as organisers intercepted them in the forest. I myself started the race, but was pulled out after approximately 15 minutes of running. Most athletes were unaware of what was happening, but as the storm worsened, a number of athletes had some close hand experience of the destructive damage, as trees were literally blown down in front of them. After being stopped, the athletes were instructed to return to the finish area as quickly as possible using major paths and tracks, and in many places these were blocked by fallen trees. The assembly areas suffered too, with tents blown away. In the forests a number of controls were blown away and the cancellation was the only option left to the organisers. Road conditions were also bad, with some blocked, and many having some debris on them. With no electricity for approximately 6 hours, the athletes and organisers had little to do except pack up and go home (and wait for power to return). Some teams even went to stock up on candles in case of the prolonged power shortages. The middle race has been rescheduled provisionally for friday, with sprint tomorrow (the qualifier has been cancelled due to the weather), long on thursday and relay on saturday. Hopefully there will be no more problems this week, but the organisers have done their best to allow the event to remain fair and of high quality.