After a stretch of disruptive weather over the weekend, seasonable conditions are forecast for the 2020 NHL Winter Classic in Dallas on New Year's Day.
AccuWeather meteorologists are calling for primarily dry conditions for Wednesday afternoon, but there could still be a spotty shower or two as the Dallas Stars play host to the Nashville Predators at the historic Cotton Bowl stadium.
Temperatures will begin the day in the 40s but will steadily climb into the low 50s by the time the puck drops around 1 p.m. local time.
As the afternoon progresses, temperatures are forecast to rise higher into the 50s, so keeping the ice properly frozen could become an issue, forecasters say.
A normal high for Jan. 1 in Dallas is 56 F, but this past weekend, a surge of warmer-than-normal air, along with heavy rain, caused a setback for crews working to maintain the ice conditions just days ahead of the game.
According to NHL.com, rain and temperatures near 70 F on Saturday wreaked havoc on the rink that's been installed at the Cotton Bowl field.
NHL senior manager of facility operations Derek King said there were 2 inches of standing water on the ice and "it was like a wading pool." Lines and logos that had already been painted were lost and had to be redrawn.
Since then, the crews have been able to restore the rink to its proper condition in order to allow the Stars and Predators to practice on it on Tuesday, NHL.com reported.
"I don't think there's ever been an outdoor game that has gone just completely perfectly," Steve Mayer, NHL chief content officer, told the league website. "Weather will always be a factor, always, and something's not going to go according to plan."
AccuWeather Reporter Bill Wadell is in Dallas and said a "small army" of workers has been working long hours to get the rink ready for Wednesday's game.
King told Wadell that with the outdoor games, "[the] sun is kind of our enemy," when it comes to rink preparation.
"We'll do a lot of our ice build at night, so during the day when the sun's out, we'll cover the sheet and everything will be taken care of at night," King said.
One issue that has come into play during the outdoor game in previous years is sun glare on the ice surface. The 2012 matchup between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia was pushed back from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m because of the glare and the 2014 Stadium Series game between the Rangers and Devils at Yankee Stadium was also delayed for the same issue.
|Dallas Stars left wing Roope Hintz (24), of Finland, moves the puck in front of Nashville Predators defenseman Dan Hamhuis (5) in the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)|
The league ended up letting players wear sunglasses for the 2015 game in Washington, D.C., between the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks.
A cloudy sky over Dallas on Wednesday means that the glare of the sun likely will not be a factor in this year's game, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff.
"There will be limited sunshine throughout the day as clouds increase ahead of a storm system to the south, so sun glare should not be an issue like it has been in previous Winter Classics," Duff said.