Maybe the heavens let loose that snow dump to make way for sunny skies on Feb. 4, also known as Super Bowl Sunday.
With the hometown back on the sidelines, Minnesotans can shift focus to another favorite pastime: prognosticating about the weather for game day. Conditions remain mostly a guess right now, but when has that ever stopped us?
Gameday temperature has been a neon question mark ever since Minnesota won hosting rights in the spring of 2014. Planners branded the event “Bold North” as a shrug to unpredictable weather, a way to say, “Bring it on, we’ve got this.”
With 11 days remaining as of Wednesday, Star Tribune meteorologist Paul Douglas said prepare for lower-than-average temperatures. “It’s going to be the Minnesota they thought it could be,” he said.
We’ve got parameters taking shape and we’ve got the Winter Misery Index of seasons past with which to compare. The upshot: Feb. 4 is a wild card. The record high came in 2005 at 51 degrees. The record low was 28 below in 1886. The average high is 26 degrees.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee’s on-the-record hope has been temperatures in the high 20s with a dusting of fresh, white snow wafting from the heavens, a Minnesota-nice stretch of winter that is cold enough to keep ice sculptures from sweating, warm enough to keep visitors party-hopping and out of the hospital emergency rooms.
Committee logistics gurus have made multiple weather contingency plans that include a 36-inch snowfall. Let’s not kid ourselves, however. We’re bold and bad, but we’re just coming off a 12-inch snowfall in the Twin Cities that stretched coping skills. There weren’t enough plows, school buses, snow tires or rock salt to help us give our usual smug shrug to that bad boy of a storm. Streets were a mess of crashes, stalled cars and tangled traffic. The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport shut down for hours. To be clear: 12 inches is a mere third of 36.
Nonetheless, let’s predict what’s in store for game day. “Cold and dark until March,” Douglas said. More specifically for Super Bowl LII, colder than average — in the teens — with windchills near zero and the potential for an inch of snow on game day. Douglas hedged that it’s more of a “prayer than a predictor” at this time.
The Department of Natural Resources Winter Misery Index (WMI) thus far rates this season’s severity at 55 points, 30 for cold and 25 for snow, including the recent snowfall. That means not that miserable — at least so far. It’s a cumulative index, so it will only get worse.
We’ve already surpassed the mild winter of 2016-17, which closed out at 49 points. The year before it was 47 points. The last severe winter in the Twin Cities came in 2013-14, which finished at 207 points. The most severe winter was 1916-17 at 305 points.
Word to visitors: Bring your gear. Fans coming from New England to support the Patriots should have enough to get through a visit. Philadelphia tends to be warmer, so Eagles fans may need help to dress properly.
And who among us wouldn’t lend spare winter gear to a shivering Eagles fan?