Bad weather in the eastern United States has already forced the NFL to stage its first Tuesday night game since 1946, and now it could interfere with Saturday’s Bridgestone Winter Classic.As the East Coast digs out from the Blizzard of 2010, unseasonably warm temperatures and rain showers are forecast for Pittsburgh this weekend.
Abnormally warm weather in the 50-degree range won’t interrupt the game because of a high-powered refrigeration system below the ice at Heinz Field that constantly keeps the surface’s temperature at 22-degrees.
But rain — three hours of which is expected on Saturday — could be very damaging to the carefully crafted rink at Heinz Field.
Such a significant amount of precipitation freezes slowly and unevenly and could create an unsafe playing surface for the game.
The NHL has indicated that if the game can’t be played on Saturday it would be moved to Sunday.
One problem: 12 hours of rain is expected on Sunday. If the Winter Classic can’t be held at all this weekend it will be played indoors at CONSOL Energy centre sometime later this year.
This is the disaster scenario for the NHL with the Winter Classic, and one it will attempt to avoid at all costs.
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