Severe Weather Considerations

Administrators, Athletic Directors and Coaches:

With the Fall Soccer and Football seasons in full swing, please take time to review the TAPPS weather concerns and policies outlined below to ensure the safety of your players, coaches and fans. TAPPS recommends that member schools have an emergency plan in place for all events and locations which include specific procedures for dealing with severe weather conditions.

TAPPS Weather Concerns:

  • Severe Weather Forecast – If there is a threat or forecast of bad weather for the contest, the two schools should agree prior to the contest to the following:
    • The home team shall be responsible for
      • Monitoring the weather
      • Monitoring the possibility and existence of lightning
      • Appointing a person to advise the officials crew and both teams of the presence of bad weather or lightning.
    • Latest time to begin the contest
    • Latest time to begin a quarter
    • Latest time to complete the contest
    • These guidelines shall be discussed with the visiting team and presented to the officials’ crew prior to the contest beginning.
    • Prior to the game, decisions concerning field conditions, rain/weather delay and responsibility to monitor lightning are determined by an agreement of both teams. Once the game begins, decisions concerning field conditions, rain/weather delay and lightning are under the authority of the game officials.
  • Lightning Detectors – TAPPS strongly recommends the use of a Lightning Detector to track local lightning strikes. In the absence of Lightning Detectors or Predictors, TAPPS rules are as follows:
    • When thunder is heard or cloud to ground lightning is observed, the storm is close enough to strike your location with lightning.
    • Suspend play and take shelter immediately.
    • Distance Rule: When using a detector, this rule is in place for lightning strikes within 10 miles of the game location.
    • Thirty Minute Rule: Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after the last strike is detected, last thunder is heard or flash of lightning is witnessed prior to resuming play. After beginning application of the 30 minute rule, any subsequent thunder or flash of lightning shall reset the clock and teams shall wait an additional 30 minutes from that point prior to resuming play.
  • Authority of Game Officials – In accordance with the NCAA football rules and outdoor sport NFHS rules, once the contest begins, the game officials shall determine delays, suspension or termination of the contest.

A school that is following the above guidelines shall not be required to forfeit contests.

If questions arise, please reach out to the TAPPS office at [email protected] or by phone at 254-947-9268.