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Super Bowl Frenzy: Dallas On Ice From Storm

By Jay Sorgi and the Associated Press

Next game: February 6th at Super Bowl XLV vs. Pittsburgh
Packers Gameday at 3:00 p.m. on Newsradio 620 WTMJ with coverage on Live at 10 on TODAY'S TMJ4 and Super Bowl Frenzy coverage online here.

ARLINGTON, Tex. - "Hey, guys, we're at the Super Bowl!  Isn't this great?"

At first, that quote from TODAY'S TMJ4's Vince Vitrano on 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" was one of genuine thrills as fans from Green Bay reached North Texas for Super Bowl XLV with the Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On Tuesday, those words were more of sarcasm as an ice storm paralyzed the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and shut down Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where the Packers arrived on Monday.

"We are getting absolutely hammered.  I wish it was snow.  This is some sort of freezing, sleety...we are absolutely getting pounded."

Vitrano said the wind was moving sideways at Cowboys Stadium, where he was doing live reports for TODAY'S TMJ4's "Live at Daybreak."

"This is going to be a real serious situation today, because I don't know how people are going to get around.  You have the logistics of team buses, all the media, because today is supposed to be Media Day.  I don't know how it's going to happen.  This city could be in gridlock."

Vitrano also said that many people who traveled to Texas for the Super Bowl were not prepared for winter weather, and stores had not successfully stocked for winter weather.

The hardy Packers may 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."

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