January 29, 2014

Super Bowl Weather: Super Boring

 Friday AM Super Bowl Update:  Forecasts are trending warmer for Sunday, so it looks like the game will start in the lower 40s, with a trend down into the upper 30s during the event.  Looks completely dry during the game, with a modest (roughly 10 knot) wind from the west/northwest.  

After all the hype and worry about snow storms and blizzards.  Of freezing temperatures and strong winds.  After all the gnashing of teeth and media coverage, it appears that the fears were unfounded.

Super Bowl Snow Apocalypse Avoided.

The Super Bowl will have super boring weather.  Weather that will make the Seahawks feel right at home. 

We are now within 120 hr of the start of the game and this is a time horizon within which weather forecasting models are far more skillful than at more extended ranges.   Yes, there are some uncertainties, but it would be extremely unlikely for any major storm to appear in the forecasts as we get closer.

First, the big picture.  The sea level pressure and precipitation forecast for 7 PM Sunday is shown below.  High pressure is building over the region at that time with a low center (with some associated precipitation) off the coast.  Some light precip to the southeast.  The Super Bowl venue in East Rutherford, NJ looks good..no major action..  The skies will start the game cloudy, modest NW winds, and cooling temperatures.  A small chance 20-40% of some light showers.

How cool?  I have looked at all available guidance, from forecast model ensembles, to high resolution models plus statistical guidance of various types.  I will spare you most of the technical detail, but here is the  bottom line.

Sunday will probably see some precipitation early in the day, but that will be fading out in the afternoon.  The high temp at the SB site on Sunday will be in the upper 30s, but will be cooling to around freezing at the kick off (around 6:30 PM).  Temperatures will fall into the upper 20s during the game.   The northwest winds will be noticeable (around 10 mph), but not a game changer.

You want more details?   Here is the National Weather Service hour by hour forecasts that day for temperature (red line, top panel), wind (middle panel), and probability of precipitation (brown line, bottom panel).  Pretty much what I told you above.

Or take a peak at the US/Canada NAEFS ensemble product for New York City.  Temperature around freezing, modest winds, clearing pattern...the same thing.

Or the uber-skillful European Model, which does suggest some light precipitation at the beginning of the game (map for 7 PM below) that would fade out quickly.
 The European Center temperatures?  A few degrees above freezing at the start of the game (temps are in C here)

Temperatures in the 30s, with clouds, and some light sprinkles--this sounds like Seattle winter conditions!  The Seahawks will feel very comfortable with the weather conditions at MetLife stadium on Sunday. 


  1. Sounds like standard "Jim Foreman dons his parka conditions" ~ as expected. Media-invoked weather hype just about guarantees a non-story. Now Jerry Brewer ~ Seattle Times sportswriter who insists the Super Bowl should be held in "as sterile an environment as possible" ~ can stop whining about potential weather disasters.

  2. Hey Cliff, love the blog so damn much it hurts. And thank you, thank you, thank you for providing some relevant Super Bowl reporting and insight. I live in AK and would love it if you could do a post speaking to the persistent blocking high that is affecting all of the west, but is, in particular, making for some unprecedented winter conditions here in the far Northwest. Thanks!

  3. Off the topic of Super Bowl weather, but weather fans will enjoy today's XKCD cartoon, http://xkcd.com/1324/

    Mouse over the panel to see the punch line.


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