ARLINGTON, Texas — Runways too snowy to receive airliners packed with football fans. Sidewalks too icy for cowboy boots. Temperatures too cold to distinguish Dallas from Pittsburgh or Green Bay.
Just two days before the Super Bowl, a fresh blast of snow and ice canceled hundreds of flights, transformed highways into ribbons of white and caused dangerous sheets of ice to fall from Cowboys Stadium, injuring at least six people. It was enough to turn the biggest week in American sports into a Super Mess.
The six people hurt Friday were private contractors who had been hired by the NFL to prepare the stadium for the game. None of the injuries was considered life-threatening.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area received as much as 5 inches of snow overnight — nearly twice its annual average — and by Friday morning downtown Dallas hotels were selling ski hats and scarves alongside cowboy hats. A winter storm warning was issued for suburban Arlington, home of the $1.3 billion stadium where the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers are to play Sunday.
"It looks like, 'Oh, no, I'm back in Canada,' " said Sammy Sandu, a 32-year-old property developer from Kelowna, British Columbia, who is in town for the game. "It's just pouring down snow. Are we still at home, or have we left?"
The temperature in Dallas on Friday stood at 20 — the same as Pittsburgh. Green Bay was slightly colder at 17.
Forecasters expected game day to be mostly sunny, with highs in the 40s, which would probably not be warm enough to melt all the snow and ice.
The bitter cold stretched across the South, and icy roads were blamed for several traffic deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi. The system extended its grip as far east as North Carolina, where freezing rain was possible.
The frigid weather also disrupted natural gas service in New Mexico and caused water pipes to burst in Arizona. Snow- and slush-covered roads made driving hazardous across Texas and neighboring states.
Greyhound spokeswoman Bonnie Bastian said the weather snarled travel through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.