Super Bowl in Super Weather Mess: Dallas Hit with Bitter Cold, Ice
Freezing temperatures are expected in Dallas until tomorrow.
Feb. 3, 2011 -- The week long party that traditionally leads up to the Super Bowl was brought to a standstill in Dallas this year by a winter storm that coated the area with ice and plunged temperatures into the teens. Around Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, wind chill readings even hit the subzero mark and the region is expected to receive up to an inch of snow over the next 24 hours.
Since a major storm Tuesday, which temporarily shut down Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, temperatures have remained below freezing, keeping portions of the city frozen, and preventing city crews from clearing all the roads.
"All we need is a couple of warm hours and some sunlight and this will all be a memory, explained David Schechter, senior reporter at ABC affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas. "Many are saying this is the worst weather event since the 1980's."
NFL vice president of events, Frank Supovits, said the league was prepared for the deepfreeze.
"Wherever you go, you always want to have a contingency plan. In South Florida, we have a contingency plan for flooding. In Detroit, we had a contingency plan for snow. In Indianapolis next year, we'll have a similar plan like that for deep cold and snow," he said. "Here, we had a contingency plan for frozen precipitation because ice is the thing that you have to be most concerned about."
Adding to the misery in Dallas is the decision by, Oncor, the local power company to implement rolling power blackouts. According to Schecter, some area residents said they had to suffer through the outages, while hotels and other facilities associated with the Super Bowl got special treatment.
Cowboys Stadium, for example, was exempt from the electrical outages at the request of local officials, while two hospitals that were not supposed to be affected experienced them.
"The number-one concern started yesterday with the rolling blackout," Schechter said. "Texas is the only state in the country with a power grid that is overseen by a state agency and we are looking into whether the blackouts were a result of poor management rather than high demand."
Oncor, which serves 7 million customers in Texas, said the outages happen in 15-minute intervals and although the stadium was not affected, other facilities associated with the Super Bowl did not receive the same exemption.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said some hotels experienced "brief but expected" blackouts without any problems, and a hotel spokesman said both team hotels have backup generators so any power outage was brief.
Temperatures are expected to be above freezing tomorrow afternoon for the first time in more than four days and the National Weather Service forecast for game day on Sunday calls for highs in the mid-50s.
The Associated Press and ESPN contributed to this report.
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