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Great Collapses In Dome Stadium History

By Gregg Henson for 105.3 The Fan
Metrodome Roof Collapses Under Heavy Snow

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DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – Sunday’s collapse of the Metrodome roof wasn’t the first time a domed stadium has had structural issues that forced the relocation of sporting events, it has happened many times before.

Five times in the stadium’s history, heavy snows or other weather conditions have damaged the roof and caused it to deflate. On November 19, 1981, a rapid accumulation of over a foot of snow caused the roof to collapse, requiring it to be re-inflated. It deflated the following winter on December 30, 1982, again because of a tear caused by heavy snow. This was four days before the Vikings played the  Dallas Cowboys in the last regular season game of the 1982 NFL season. In the spring following that same winter, on April 14, 1983, the Metrodome roof deflated because of a tear caused by a late-season heavy snow, and the scheduled Twins’ game with the California Angels was postponed. On April 26, 1986, the Metrodome roof suffered a slight tear because of high winds, causing a nine-minute delay in the bottom of the seventh inning vs. the Angels.

The Georgia Dome has also seen it’s share of weather related issues. Three years after the completion of the dome, the integrity of its roof became an issue. During a Falcons pre-season game in August 1995, a severe rainstorm caused water to pool up on the fabric, tearing part of the material and causing a section of the roof to fall into the stadium. The storm was intense enough that the roof panels could be seen moving during the game, and the water and roof material later fell with enough force to smash seats in the upper decks and knock holes in concrete floors. Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident, because the collapse occurred after fans left the stadium. The roof was eventually repaired in a way that prevented similar incidents from occurring in the future.  The Georgia Dome also suffered damage in 2008 during a tornado outbreak on March 14, 2008 during the NCAA SEC’s Men’s Basketball Tournament.  The tornado ripped two holes in the dome during the Alabama vs. Mississippi State game.  The game was delayed for over an hour.  The Kentucky and Georgia game the next day was postponed.  Because of the damage the rest of the tournament was relocated to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum at Georgia Tech.

A major snow storm in March of 1985 also forced a professional sports franchise to relocate.  The Pontiac Silverdome suffered so much damage to it’s roof during the storm that the Detroit Pistons were forced to move the remaining home games on their schedule to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.   The accident, and the delay in repairs, partially prompted the Pistons moving three seasons later 4 miles (6 km) north to their new, privately owned, 20,000-seat sports arena, The Palace of Auburn Hills.