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How high school fall sports handle inclement weather

Posted at 10:15 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 23:15:06-04

It may not have the state-wide anticipation like last weekend's Husker season opener, but preparing for any inclement weather during a football game like Thursday night's battle between Omaha North and Millard West still requires plenty of attention for activities directors like Lance Smith.

School officials track storms week to week leading up to game days. The work continues well after kickoff.

"If we've started a contest and we've got severe weather that comes in, the district uses app that all administrators have to notify when there's lightening strike in a certain radius," Smith said. "If we do have a lightning strike within eight miles then we will suspend game."

The Nebraska State Athletics Association says games must suspend play for 30 minutes after lightning strikes within eight miles. That can be frustrating for players and parents both.

When it comes to softball, school officials watch for lightning ten miles away. Players and parents are at the mercy of umpires, as well as mother nature.

Matt Rudloff says two canceled games for Marian High School are hard on his schedule and his daughter's.

"It's frustrating because my daughter has to find someone to work for her on the days games get rescheduled," Rudloff said. "It throws off schedules."

The threat of lightning like during last Saturday's Nebraska football game is serious. Athletes, coaches and fans should take the threat of lightning seriously.

"When it comes to lightning, a lot of times people don't realize just how far away it can travel," chief meteorologist Jennifer Zeppelin said. "So even if a storm is several miles away, lightning from that storm can travel three to five miles. So that's why you hear alot about people why people take the extra precautions."

The Nebraska School Activities Association says different sports handle inclement weather on a case by case basis. The Association works with schools and the National Weather Service for post-season games.