Feb. 4, 2011— -- Seven people were injured, one critically, after ice fell from the roof of Cowboys Stadium this afternoon, the site of this year's Super Bowl.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said many of the stadium entrances have been closed today due to safety concerns.
"The ice and snow melting off the Cowboys Stadium roof has caused several sliding snowfalls onto the plaza," McCarthy explained.
Weather has wreaked havoc in Dallas in the usually festive week before the big game.
The week-long party that traditionally leads up to the Super Bowl was brought to a standstill in Dallas by a winter storm that coated the area with ice, and sent temperatures plunging into the teens. Around the stadium in Arlington, sub-zero wind chill readings were recorded, and the region has received an additional 3 to 6 inches of snow over the last 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 briefly had to shift to backup generators.
"The number-one concern started (Wednesday) 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."