Fort Worth Warning Coordination Meteorologist Mark Fox and Forecaster Jennifer Dunn at Arlington JOC during Cotton Bowl on Jan. 7 (Photo: WFO Fort Worth)
(Jan. 26, 2011) - The eyes of the nation will soon focus on the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex as Super Bowl XLV activities slip into high gear. At its peak, Super Bowl week is expected to bring up to 250,000 visitors to the area.
With literally hundreds of sanctioned and non-sanctioned events scheduled from Fort Worth in the west, through mid-cities Arlington, Irving and Grand Prairie and on to Dallas, Garland and Mesquite in the east; a lot of people will be on the move throughout the week.
Of course, how smoothly all the extra traffic moves along the highways, byways and freeways of the Metroplex is largely dependent on the weather. Super Bowl week is still a work week for most of the area's approximately seven million residents who will be sharing the roadways with the visitors. A winter storm or even a slight coating of ice could wreak havoc for travelers and seriously hamper many of the Super Bowl events.
"Other than something man-made, the biggest concern is a winter weather event between a week and half before and a couple of days after the Super Bowl," said Bill Proenza, regional director of the National Weather Service Southern Region.
With that in mind, the National Weather Service forecast office in Fort Worth will play a critical role in support of emergency managers and decision makers. Supported by Fort Worth-based Southern Region Headquarters, Center Weather Service Unit and the West Gulf River Forecast Center; the Fort Worth office will provide comprehensive decision support to federal, state and local officials prior to and during Super Bowl XLV.
"Just keeping up with all the events that are going on in the Metroplex during Super Bowl week is going to be a big challenge, especially if we get rain or snow," said Fort Worth Warning Coordination Meteorologist Mark Fox.
In addition to Fox, Fort Worth office Meteorologist-in-Charge Bill Bunting and Forecaster Jennifer Dunn will be deployed to the official Joint Operations Center, near Cowboy Stadium, in the host city of Arlington. They will be working 16 hour days along with the FBI, Secret Service and a range of city and county officials.
The National Weather Service team will provide a minimum of three daily weather briefings to officials at the center and via teleconference. They will also transmit daily weather updates to a tactical decision support web page developed for public safety entities throughout the Metroplex.
A second team of meteorologists from the Fort Worth office and Southern Region Headquarters will also be assigned to the Texas Disaster District Committee Emergency Operations Center in Garland.
Southern Region Meteorological Services Chief Tom Bradshaw, Fort Worth office Senior Forecaster Dennis Cavanaugh and Forecaster Joe Harris will provide briefings and support for state officials. Both the Arlington and Garland teams will be augmented with support from the National Weather Service Southern Region Operations Center.
"With the many thousands of people expected to visit the Metroplex and the hundreds of scheduled activities, our primary goal is simply to provide public safety officials and the public with the information needed to keep everyone safe," added Bunting.