It’s looking more likely that the first Super Bowl ever held in New Jersey – scheduled for Feb. 2 between Denver and Seattle – will be played in below-normal temperatures for the region, but at this point there is not a strong likelihood of snow for that day.
Those who plan to take part in the myriad of special events scheduled in Manhattan and elsewhere in the week leading up to the Super Bowl should bundle up: Next week’s daytime temperatures will be in the teens to low 20s, well below the normal high of 39, and will dip to as low as 5 or 6 degrees at night on Tuesday and Wednesday. There is also a possibility of a quick snow system moving through Monday, and also for a snowstorm to develop on Thursday.
“It’s going to be a very cold week – but you can’t keep this persistent temperature in the teens for more than a couple of days before you need to import more cold air from Canada,” said David Robinson, a Rutgers University professor and New Jersey’s state climatologist. That has been occurring repeatedly this winter as a string of small, quick storms out of western Canada have rolled east supplying frigid air – storms called Alberta clippers. That’s why the temperatures have continued to rise and fall week to week.
Another of these small systems could show up Saturday, and still another Sunday into Monday. “There’s nothing to suggest this cold pattern will budge before the Super Bowl,” Robinson said.
The National Weather Service won’t issue its official forecast for game day until this coming Sunday, and even that will be iffy – experts say it’s hard to predict with accuracy what weather to expect on a given day until just a few days out.
A case in point was the storm Tuesday that dumped a foot of snow on North Jersey. Forecasters hadn’t even picked up on its possibility until about 24 hours out, then miscalculated its arrival time by about four or five hours, Robinson said.
“There’s so much uncertainty in the pattern of weather flows to properly predict storms more than a few days out — timing, location, strength and how they interact with the thermal flow,” Robinson said. “There are so many variables in such a complex equation. Beyond three to five days out you’re still just fishing.”
The National Weather Service’s modeling currently extends only until the early morning on Super Bowl Sunday, said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist with the service’s office in Upton, N.Y., on Long Island. “It looks like there could be some light snow on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, and dry in the early morning of Super Bowl Sunday,” Nash said.
The Climate Prediction Center’s 6-to-10-day outlook, while vague, indicates the strong possibility that temperatures for Feb. 2 will be below the normal high, which is 40 for that day.
And looking at the week leading up to the game, Nash said there’s a 30 percent chance for a “light, quick system” of snow to pass through Monday. “We’re also monitoring something that could possibly develop off the coast on Thursday,” she said. “Otherwise, we have a dry forecast through Thursday.”
The National Football League has scheduled numerous events in the week leading up to the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium – the first to be held in an outdoor cold-weather stadium. Among the events is “Super Bowl Boulevard” in Times Square between 34th and 47th streets – a variety of outdoor rides, autograph and photo opportunities for football fans to experience. It will be open Wednesday through Saturday, from noon to 10 p.m. Some fans will also be able to attend media day on Tuesday, held indoors at the Prudential Center in Newark. There will be outdoor exhibits around the arena as well.
Accuweather is predicting only a 30 percent chance of snow for Super Bowl XLVIII, with a low of 24 and a high of 36. It predicts a warming trend in the week after the game, with a high of 46 that Monday and Tuesday and temperatures climbing to 49 by that Thursday. Accuweather has created a website to track its Super Bowl forecast at willitsnow.com.
Robinson and his Rutgers staff have their own Super Bowl weather site at biggameweather.com. The site includes line graphs, pie charts and bar graphs showing the climatological data for Feb. 2 going back more than 80 years.
If this year’s Feb. 2 turns out to be typical, based on the data, one might expect a temperature of 34 degrees at game time with winds of 10 mph out of the northwest, and only a 26 percent chance of precipitation.
And while some have talked about this Super Bowl becoming a “Snow Bowl,” the odds of a major snow event are low. Over the past eight decades, it has snowed Feb. 2 only 15 times in the vicinity of MetLife Stadium. The most was 3.4 inches in 1985, but nine of the 15 dates had less than an inch of snow.
The NFL has said that if a terrible storm does materialize, it is prepared to adjust the kickoff time of the game – or even the date. Depending on the storm track, the game could be played either Saturday or Monday. But that scenario remains remote – at least for now.