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Originally published January 22, 2014 at 9:19 PM | Page modified January 23, 2014 at 4:49 PM

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Forget about 12th Man; all eyes on weatherman

Although Super Bowl XLVIII is still more than a week away, and New York-area weather is changeable, it’s not too early to say what travelers should prepare for: Cold. Make that serious cold. And maybe, snow.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Dominic Micco, owner of Caffe Capri, not far from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., was surprised to get a phone call from Seattle on Wednesday, but not too busy to look out his window.

“We have about a foot of snow on the ground. It’s not snowing now, and we’re supposed to get a break for a while,” said Micco. “Public transportation is working. People seem to be getting around.”

Although the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII battle with the Denver Broncos is still more than a week away, and New York-area weather is changeable, it’s not too early to say what travelers should prepare for:

Cold. Make that serious cold. And maybe, snow.

The Weather Channel’s forecast for next week calls for high temperatures below freezing, nighttime temperatures dipping into single-digit territory and 10 to 20 percent chance of snow early in the week.

But by Thursday and Friday, the last two days included in the 10-day forecast window, the chance of precipitation drops to zero.

Don’t count on that holding and extending through Super Bowl weekend, said Jonathan Erdman, The Weather Channel’s senior meteorologist.

“This time of year is notorious for East Coast snowstorms,” Erdman said, adding that snowstorms, such as one that dumped a foot of snow in some areas this week, can come with little warning.

Erdman said the NFL’s decision to part with past practices and hold an outdoor Super Bowl in a northern city has baffled weather forecasters since it was announced 3½ years ago.

Under the present weather pattern, this Super Bowl could be the coldest ever, a distinction now held by the 39-degree kickoff temperature at Super Bowl VI in 1972 in New Orleans’ outdoor Tulane Stadium, a predecessor to the Superdome.

Frigid weather could be welcomed by Seattle fans. A number of analysts have said wind, cold and snow would favor the Seahawks’ gritty defense while posing challenges for Denver’s pass-oriented offense.

NFL officials plan to monitor the weather closely and use snow-removal equipment if necessary.

Erdman’s advice to travelers from Seattle: “Pack for colder weather than you probably want to. You can always take those layers off or leave them in your hotel room.”

The decision to put the game in the New York / New Jersey megamarket and roll the dice regarding the weather took four rounds of secret balloting by NFL owners, who finally chose New Jersey over Tampa, Florida, according to an ESPN account at the time.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has heard plenty of grumbling about the decision, but has steadfastly defended it.

“I think fans recognize that football is played in the elements,” he told the New York Daily News this week. “We’re embracing the cold.”

Goodell has made a point of saying he plans to watch the game from an outdoor seat, not an enclosed suite.

League officials said last month that if a major blizzard made it impossible to play the game Feb. 2, contingency plans have been put in place that could allow the game to be held the next day.

Quoc Tang, a Web developer from Seattle, said he is flying back to New York with much of the same gear he would take skiing or snowboarding. That includes several layers, wool sweaters and socks, waterproof boots and a down jacket.

“All that we really know for sure is that it’s going to be really cold,” said Tang, 30.

He has airfare and lodging, but at midday Wednesday was still missing one essential: a ticket to the game.

Tang said he’s been checking online sites and if that doesn’t work, he’s prepared to go to New York in the hope of getting one there, which he says could cost more than $3,000.

Jack Broom: jbroom@seattletimes.com



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