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19 below wind chills for Super Bowl? Really?

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Welcome to Minnesota, out-of-towners.
Welcome to Minnesota, out-of-towners.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News file

Updated 3 p.m. | Posted 1:46 p.m.

Minnesotans expect cold weather in February, but the National Weather Service's latest forecast is brutal for Super Bowl Sunday in Minneapolis.

The Twin Cities NWS said Monday that wind chills may hit 19 below in Minneapolis on Feb. 4. "It's still a ways off, so the forecast will change some," the weather service noted helpfully, "but it will be cold."

The updated frigid forecast on Monday came shortly after Gov. Mark Dayton's official welcome to the Super Bowl.

It has been chilly before for the big game. The temperature was a brisk 39 degrees for Super Bowl VI in New Orleans in 1972, played outdoors at Tulane University stadium. The game held in New Jersey four years ago kicked off in comparatively balmy 49-degree weather, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Dayton even made light of the weather as he proclaimed it Super Bowl Week in Minnesota at a Mall of America event.

"We're excited about welcoming all the nation, all the world to Minnesota. It may not be balmy weather. This will be Bud Grant football weather this weekend. You'll realize what we went through, those of us who grew up with the Vikings back when it was all outdoor football."

But he said that building a new stadium to house not only the Vikings, but hundreds of other events in downtown Minneapolis, will be an enduring legacy for Minnesota, beyond the notoriety of any football game.

Local host committee officials said people have been attending Super Bowl related events in large numbers already, and the weekend was busy.

"The music was good. Food is good. Activities are good. So we had a lot of traffic. I think we easily probably saw a quarter of a million people this first weekend," Bausch said. "People were way early, before we opened. They started Friday morning looking at things. Actually, they watched the setup a week before."

The brutal cold expected for later this week may have a significant impact on attendance as the Super Bowl approaches, she added.