Storms bring chaos to US

2010-12-13 07:45

Washington - Heavy snow in the central United States caused the collapse of a stadium roof hours before a scheduled football game while blizzard conditions raged into Sunday night in the upper Midwest.

Monday was forecast to bring windy, bitter cold weather.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, the fabric roof of the Metrodome, home of the National Football League's (NFL's) Minnesota Vikings, began sagging and collapsed from the weight of about 50cm of snow.

In the mishap captured on video, snow and ice tumbled onto the indoor field through tears in the fabric roof, which is designed to be kept inflated by the air pressure inside the building. The field was empty, and there were no injuries.

The severe weather had already forced a rare postponement of Sunday's game until Monday because the visiting New York Giants were unable to fly into Minneapolis. After the stadium roof failed, the NFL moved the game to Monday night in Detroit and offered free tickets.

Thousands of flights were cancelled over the weekend across the region.

Rough-and-tumble American football is normally an all-weather sport despite the disruption at Minneapolis' indoor stadium. The NFL's Chicago Bears played on Sunday against the visiting New England Patriots on the frozen tundra of Soldier Field despite heavy snow and blowing wind.

Snow was forecast to continue until midweek around the Great Lakes, including Wisconsin and Michigan. Overnight lows in the upper Midwest were forecast to reach minus-25 degrees Celsius.

In Wisconsin, a state accustomed to harsh winters, authorities asked drivers to stay off state highways unless necessary after snow piled up 50cm or more in some locations.

As the storm moved east, snow was expected Monday in Canada with rain along much of the US East Coast.