Super Bowl Travel Nightmare: Ice Storm Pelts Dallas
NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The airport that will bring thousands of Super Bowl travelers to Texas has reopened as the Dallas-Fort Worth area braces for at least three days of subfreezing temperatures.
A spokesman said Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, one of the nation’s busiest, partially reopened after icy runways forced a temporary closure on Tuesday morning. It was shut down for about an hour.
Airlines canceled more than 4,500 flights on Tuesday due to the big winter storm moving through the Tri-State area and the Midwest. The wide-ranging storm is expected to pelt Dallas with freezing rain and bone-chilling cold on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Flight-tracking service FlightAware.com says the total for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday is already more than 7,700.
FlightAware says airports in Newark, N.J., and Chicago are the hardest hit, with more than 600 cancellations in each. Chicago is a hub for United and American airlines, and Continental has a hub in Newark.
JetBlue is canceling flights in and out of New York’s JFK airport for the rest of Tuesday, with some flights to resume Wednesday afternoon. It plans to shut down its Boston flying Tuesday night through Thursday morning.
LISTEN: WFAN’s Jerry Recco talks Steelers-Packers from frigid Dallas
The NFL is sticking to its Super Bowl schedule Tuesday despite the storm.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello sent out a Twitter message saying media activities at Cowboys Stadium will go on as planned. Both the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers are scheduled to be available for one hour for the hundreds of reporters in town for Sunday’s game.
Aiello tweeted: “The show goes on. Media day is on schedule. Drive carefully. The stadium roof is closed.”
The weather wasn’t much different to what the Packers and Steelers are used to back home in Wisconsin and Pennsyslvania.
“Sorry we brought the weather with us,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said Monday after his team arrived in the Dallas area.
The forecast for Sunday is much better — highs in the 50s — but Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t want to take any chances. He said he hoped the roof of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, the billion-dollar showplace of Jerry Jones, would be closed for the game. The NFL decided a long time ago that it will be.
“I’m hoping they put the top on Jerry World, and I think they will,” Rodgers said.
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, undaunted by the 950-mile trip. “I’ll crawl if I have to.”
Weather service meteorologist Jesse Moore said the sharpest cold, driven by northern winds up to 25 mph that could drop wind chill readings below zero, 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 The Associated Press.