Fans plan ahead as inclimate weather hits Dallas area

DALLAS -- Packers fans and Steelers supporters should feel right at home if a wintry blast winds up sending wind chill readings below zero during Super Bowl week in Texas.

A storm is expected to dump more than a foot of snow on parts of the Midwest and bring freezing rain and bone-chilling cold to parts of Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday. There's a chance of light snow off and on this week in the Dallas area, which is hosting Sunday's Super Bowl between Green Bay and Pittsburgh.

The hardy Packers might even practice indoors at a local high school this week. Depends on the weather.

"Sorry we brought the weather with us," coach Mike McCarthy said after his team arrived in Dallas.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said the team practiced indoors the past few days in Green Bay. He said he hoped the roof of Cowboys Stadium will be closed during the game (it will be).

"I'm hoping they put the top on Jerry World, and I think they will," he said.

Game day won't be that bad. The forecast calls for highs in the low 50s.

"If there's a silver lining, that might be it," said Tim Smith, a spokesman for American Airlines, primary tenant at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, one of the nation's busiest.

The National Weather Service advised Wisconsin travelers bound for Texas to wait until Wednesday evening, with up to 20 inches of snow forecast for the Milwaukee area.

One Packers fan actually moved up his departure. John O'Neill, known as St. Vince because he wears a green bishop's outfit and a mitre with Vince Lombardi's face on it to home games, was driving to Dallas this week because of the weather warnings.

"If you're going to make the journey the worst thing you can do is shortchange yourself," said O'Neill, 58.

Don Zuidmulder of Green Bay said he wasn't worried about weather affecting his flight Thursday.

"As long as I have 18 hours I'm going to get there," said Zuidmulder, 68. "I'll crawl if I have to."

Weather service meteorologist Jesse Moore said the sharpest cold, driven by northern winds up to 25 mph, will come Wednesday.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best," said Tracy Gilmour, spokeswoman for Sundance Square, an outdoor venue in downtown Fort Worth that is one of the broadcasting hubs and just a few blocks from the Steelers' hotel. "We're going to keep the party going as best we can."

Most Super Bowl trips are sold in four-day packages, and forecasts for Thursday are better in Texas and the participating cities. One travel agent in Pittsburgh said her agency had no weather-related changes among about 20 bookings because the forecast was good for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, when most clients were leaving.

"If that changes, we're in trouble," said Nancy Buncher of Gulliver's Travels.

The Texas Department of Transportation brought in extra equipment from around the state for road work, including snow plows that are normally busy in the colder Texas Panhandle, said Val Lopez, an agency spokesman.

"It's really not any different than if we had a hurricane," Lopez said. "In past years, with hurricanes we've been asked to help the coastal areas. This is kind of the reverse of that."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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