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PHOENIX (Reuters) - As the northeastern United States shivered under heavy snowstorms, organizers of Sunday's Super Bowl worried about fans suffering from another climatic risk: sunburn.
Volunteers in downtown Phoenix have filled dozens of dispensers of SPF 30 sun block, sponsored by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and placed them on street corners in Super Bowl Central, a 12-block area where corporate pavilions, live music and interactive events are being staged each day leading up to the game.
Phoenix, a favorite of elderly retirees who flee the chilly north and are known locally as "snowbirds," is famed for its hot, dry summers and balmy, sun-dappled winter days. Fans flocking to the Super Bowl-related city center attractions have mostly done so in short-sleeved T-shirts and team jerseys.
"The weather here is amazing," said Alex Ramirez, 18, a waiter at a downtown Phoenix cafe. "I've lived my whole life here and I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be in a blizzard like they've been having up there."
Millions of people across Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York have been digging out after a storm earlier this week which dumped up to 3 feet (90 cm) of snow in places.
Daytime high temperatures in the Phoenix area, on the other hand, are forecast to reach the mid-70s F (about 24 C) this week. Some light showers are expected on Friday and Saturday but then clear, bright day on Sunday for the game.
"For those of you from the Phoenix area, you know that our economy is founded on something called climate and people come here all year round for special events," Matthew Allen, federal coordinator at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told a news conference on Wednesday about Super Bowl preparations.
Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Bill Trott