Super Bowl 48’s Biggest Question Mark: Weather [SERIES/AUDIO]
This week, we are taking a look at Super Bowl 48′s impact on New Jersey as part of a special five-day series. In part four today, we search for answers for the biggest question surrounding the event.
When New Jersey was pegged as the site for Super Bowl 48, weather became the instant focal point and a heavy topic of debate.
Since this will be the first-ever outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl ever, many have argued if it was a good idea.
Although the NFL Playoffs are conducted regularly in cold-weather outdoor stadiums, it's never happened for the big game. This year's playoffs provided a potential look, since both number one seeds, Seattle and Denver, play in the cold and hosted two playoff games each this year.
One man has been especially busy since the process began. Dr. Dave Robinson is the New Jersey State Climatologist, based at Rutgers University.
"Immediately, I got asked questions of 'what can one normally expect around February 2nd, in the weather department, in Northern New Jersey,'" Robinson said.
He and his team got to work, mining through 80 years of historical data and trying to decipher any particular trends.
"We covered the past to get the climatological odds of what might happen around game day and Super Bowl week," Robinson said.
All of the research and studying was rolled into an invaluable resource and one-stop-shop for this issue, BigGameWeather.com. The website provides all of the historical data, factoids, maps, and real-time observations.
Robinson's research concluded the average temperature around Super Bowl kickoff is 34 degrees, though it's been as warm as 61 and as chilly as 13.
"There's about a 50 percent chance that the temperature would be below freezing for at least part of the game."
The usual wind for that date is between 10 to 15 miles per hour.
While the freezing cold is one thing for fans and players to handle, many of the concerns have centered around potential precipitation.
"About three out of every 10 game time periods, the evening of February 2nd, precipitation has fallen based on this long-term analysis," Robinson explained. "Our odds are one out of 10 it would be snowing during the game, two out of 10 it would be raining during the game, and about seven out of 10 that it would be dry."
The worst snowstorm, historically, around this time-frame was February 5th, 1961, which dropped 15 inches of snow.
As the event draws closer, Dr. Robinson and his team's role has shifted, from providing the historical climate footprint for the area near the Meadowlands, to assisting with real-time monitoring of impending weather. While his office does forecast the weather, he offered one assumption for Super Bowl Sunday.
"It is quite likely to be the coldest Super Bowl on record, which is going to be no surprise to anyone if it is."
Townsquare Media NJ Metereologist Alan Kasper has started examining the extended outlook into the big game weekend.
"I think we have the chance of some light snow or flurries by Friday or Saturday, but by game time we are in pretty good shape, just very cold," he said. "Super Bowl game time looks to be very cold in the teens or 20s, at best, with some wind, but probably dry."
Alan said the wind chill factor will be a player, possibly making it feel in the single digits.
With the preparation ongoing, officials used this week's snowstorm as a dress rehearsal to see how quickly they could react and clear out snow from the area and MetLife Stadium.
In the final segment tomorrow, area mayors weigh in on the looming hoopla headed to their towns.