Sunday will be cold, but not Ice Bowl cold
GREEN BAY - It will be cold Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Not Ice Bowl cold, or even 2008 versus the Giants cold, but cold enough to advise caution to fans attending the game.
The forecast has fluctuated, but on Wednesday called for a high of 13 degrees and a wind chill of zero to 5 below. The normal temperature for this time of year, which will return briefly Monday, is 25 degrees.
"You should dress in layers, drink warm fluids, not expose skin for too long," said Roy Eckberg, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ashwaubenon.
The Packers have hosted colder games. The Ice Bowl in December 1967 started at 13 below zero with a minus-23 wind chill and got colder during the game, with the wind chill going below minus-36. The wind chill for the Dallas Cowboys game in January 2015 was 0 degrees. The game against the San Francisco 49ers in 2014, which had expectations of apocalyptic cold, started at 5 degrees with a minus-10 wind chill. The NFC championship game against the New York Giants in 2008 was closer to Ice Bowl levels, with a 1 below zero temperature and minus-23 wind chill.
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Jeff Albrecht of Silver Lake isn't worried about the cold. He was at the Ice Bowl as a teenager.
"We were very, very cold then (and) not really prepared with the available clothing of the day," he said. "We could tell who the Dallas fans were, though. Some of the men wore suits and hats and some of the women had fur coats and heels on. Needless to say, they didn't last too long before leaving."
He's learned a lot about staying warm since. The Albrechts park and tailgate at a nearby residence, which also gives them access to a restroom and indoor changing area, and they go easy on the alcohol, which might make you feel warmer, but in fact lowers core body temperature.
"We've been doing it for so long, we all have highly effective clothing that we wear in multiple layers for warmth," he said. "Plus we use the disposable heating packs for fingers and toes. We find that if your fingers and toes are warm, you'll be good to go."
Lambeau Field has metal benches in the bowl, so games are more tolerable with something to sit on, either a blanket or a portable seat without pockets or concealed areas. Portable seats also have the advantage of securing sitting space. At the beginning of winter games, when people are bundled up, space is tight.
Fans also can bring loose cardboard into the stadium to put under their feet to cut the cold from the concrete stands.
The cold snap, which will be at its most severe on Thursday, was caused by a jet stream dipping into the Midwest and allowing arctic cold to follow. Eckberg said that's typical of La Nina winters.
"Part of it is it's just winter, but the jet stream has kind of buckled, letting the arctic air into the U.S.," he said. "It's going to warm up Monday or Tuesday, but indications are that after that warm-up, there will be another cold shot."