The San Francisco 49ers start a new era at Levi's Stadium Sunday afternoon, and with that new era comes new challenges. One challenge is the climate of the region. The 49ers spent 40 years at Candlestick Park, which gave them time to get used to the wind patterns and other weather quirks. Well, get used to them as much as one can to certain unpredictable elements.
As the 49ers head into Levi's Stadium, the special teams group of Phil Dawson, Andy Lee and Kevin McDermott have spent as much time in the new stadium as anybody. They have been working to figure out how the winds will impact them inside the stadium. As you can sort of see from the picture above, there are openings on the northwest and southwest sides of the stadium, between the end of the upper deck and the start of the suite tower. Some amount of wind will come through those openings, but it remains to be seen how much.
I did a quick comparison of last year's game-day weather at Candlestick Park, and what the weather was like where Levi's Stadium now stands.
|September 8||65°, 11mph WNW||74°, 5mph WNW|
|September 22||63°, 10mph WNW||63°, 7mph WNW|
|October 6||70°, 5mph NNW, .01in||67°, 4mph WNW|
|October 13||62°, 7mph WNW||60°, 6mph SW|
|November 10||58°, 5mph W||55°, 4mph ESE|
|December 1||57°, 4mph NW||55°, 3mph NW|
|December 8||42°, 10mph ENE||39°, 4mph NW|
|December 23||52°, 1mph NNE||51°, 2mph WNW|
This was done by zip code at WeatherUnderground.com, so it is far from a perfect comparison. The wind swirls inside Candlestick Park likely were not effectively measured. We see there was less wind at Levi's, but we won't know exactly what that means inside the stadium.
The 49ers preseason home opener will provide some insight into weather conditions, but this will be one more aspect of the stadium the 49ers spend the entire season learning. They cannot really predict what December wind will be like inside Levi's Stadium, until they have actually gone through a December game. There have been some historical studies that indicate it takes a little bit of time for teams to get a sizable home field advantage when they move into a new stadium. Weather adjustments will be just one of several issues the 49ers will need to figure out to get comfortable in their new digs.