Just how cold will the first Super Bowl in a cold-weather stadium really be?
A game-time temperature in the upper 20s is likely on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., predicts AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno. Winds are likely to be from the northwest at roughly 10-20 mph, he says, making it feel as if it's in the upper teens to near 20 degrees.
The average high temperature on Feb. 2 in northern New Jersey is 40 degrees, and the average low is 25, according to David Robinson, state climatologist of New Jersey and a professor of geography at Rutgers University. At 6:30 p.m. ET — kickoff time — the average temperature is usually about 34 degrees, he says.
"The coldest-ever Super Bowl was 39 degrees in New Orleans in 1972," says meteorologist Eric Holthaus of the online news site Quartz, "so I think we have a really good shot at beating that. I wouldn't say it's a lock yet, but we should have a good idea in a few days."
He said the cold will not be of the recent "'polar vortex" strength, but should be formidable nonetheless.
Meteorologists have been buzzing about the forecast for weeks now: AccuWeather even set up a website in December — willitsnow.com — for the Super Bowl weather prediction.
With just more than two weeks to go, meteorologists are starting to get a general idea of what the weather might be like on Feb. 2. The big question: What about snow?
Based on historical averages compiled by Robinson, at least 0.1 inch of snow has fallen in northern New Jersey on Feb. 2 about 11% of the time since 1931; and the likelihood of 1.0 inch or more of snow is only 7%. No snowfall was recorded 82% of the time. Those are pretty good odds against snow.
Speaking of odds, online gambling site Bovada on Thursday announced both the odds for snow (3-2) and the over/under for temperature (32 degrees) at the Super Bowl.
Thanks to the colder-than-average air that's predicted to be in place that weekend, Rayno said that "there will be opportunities for snow" on and around Feb. 2, and that there is a "higher probability than average that it will snow" on Super Bowl Sunday.
Whether or not it snows on the Super Bowl, Rayno said, "I do believe there will be snow on the ground on Feb. 2."
For those who believe the Farmer's Almanac — the 197-year-old publication in which weather forecasts are based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles — it predicts a winter storm will hit the Northeast on Super Bowl weekend
"It really looks like the Super Bowl may be the Storm
Bowl," said Sandi Duncan, managing editor of the Almanac.
Selected weather records for Feb. 2 in northern New Jersey (Newark Liberty International Airport, to be specific, which is the nearest location to MetLife Stadium that has long-term weather records):
• The coldest temperature for Feb. 2nd was -2 degrees in 1961;
• The warmest temperature or Feb. 2nd was 62 degrees in 1973;
• The highest precipitation total on record for Feb. 2nd was when 2.36" of rain fell in 1973;
• The greatest snowfall on record for Feb. 2nd was when 3.4 inches fell in 1985.
Contributing: Mary Bowerman, USA TODAY; the Associated Press