Arlington (AP)—Runways too snowy to receive airliners packed with
football fans. Sidewalks too icy for cowboy boots. Temperatures too cold to
distinguish Dallas from Pittsburgh or Green Bay.
Just two days before the Super Bowl, a fresh blast of snow and ice canceled
hundreds of flights, transformed highways into ribbons of white and caused
dangerous sheets of ice to fall from Cowboys Stadium, sending at least six
people to the hospital. It was enough to turn the biggest week in American
sports into a Super Mess.
The six people hurt Friday were private contractors who had been hired by
the NFL to prepare the stadium for the game. One man was hit in the head,
another in the shoulder. None of the injuries was considered life-threatening.
Most stadium entrances were closed as a precaution. Officials raised the
temperature inside the arena in an attempt to melt remaining ice.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area received as much as 5 inches of snow overnight—
nearly twice its annual average—and by Friday morning downtown Dallas hotels
were selling ski hats and scarves alongside cowboy hats. A winter storm warning
was issued for suburban Arlington, home of the $1.3 billion stadium where the
Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers are to play Sunday.
“It looks like, `Oh, no, I’m back in Canada,”’ said Sammy Sandu, a
32-year-old property developer from Kelowna, British Columbia. “It’s just
pouring down snow. Are we still at home, or have we left? We didn’t drink that
much last night, did we?”
Forecasters expected game day to be mostly sunny, with highs in the 40s,
which would probably not be warm enough to melt all the snow and ice.
Sandu made it to Dallas with his father Thursday, but other members of their
party weren’t so lucky. His brother still hoped to arrive from Miami in time for
the game, but a friend abandoned the trip after a flight from Vancouver was
Like much of the region, airlines were struggling to recover from a massive
blizzard earlier in the week that brought up to 2 feet of snow and bitter cold
temperatures to as much as half the nation.
More than 300 arriving flights were canceled at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, a
hub for American Airlines. The city’s smaller airport, Love Field, was closed
before dawn because of snow on the runways, but it reopened by noon. Love is
home to Southwest Airlines.