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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With storms moving in Friday night, there could be changes to some local high school football games. The WPIAL has some recommendations in place in case of rainy weather.
Penn Hills tried to get ahead of the line of showers by starting its game at 6:30 p.m., and all the schools have been encouraged to decide before kickoff how they will handle the weather.
The WPIAL sent out a letter to all schools just before 7 a.m. Friday to meet with their opponent before game time.
“To establish an approach to the potential for an interrupted ball game. You know, how long are you going stay off the field before you come [back] on? If you can’t resume the game, when will it be resumed, the whole thing,” WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said.
Friday’s storms included the possibility of damaging winds and cloud-to-ground lightning. We all know the odds of being hit by lightning are long, but it’s not worth taking the risk.
It’s up to the schools to make their own decisions, but the WPIAL sent out the national guidelines, which, among other things, spell out that at the first sign of thunder or lightning, it’s clear the field and stands for 30 minutes.
“When you see lightning, you are close enough to be struck, or if you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning,” Fred McMullen with the National Weather Service said.
“Every time there’s a sign of lightning or thunder, the 30 minute time to be away from the field starts all over again,” O’Malley said.
“You can be struck by lightning even if the storm has passed you. You can still be struck by lightning if the storm is 10 to 15 miles to your east,” McMullen said.
So why not just call it a night?
“We here locally strongly recommend that all conference football games are completed in their entirety,” O’Malley said.
That recommendation is because of playoff implications, but that doesn’t mandate the game doesn’t have to be finished in one night.