AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University officials are keeping an eye on Saturday’s weather forecast, which could potentially bring severe storms before or during the much anticipated Cyclone-Kansas State football game (11 a.m. kickoff) at Jack Trice Stadium. All 56,800 tickets have been sold, and the Athletics Department is expecting the largest home crowd in Iowa State football history.
For the past week, Meteorology Professor Bill Gallus, ISU graduate student Tim Marquis and their team have been monitoring weather models and providing updates to the Athletics Department, ISU Police and other university administrators. ISU’s meteorology experts, along with the National Weather Service, are predicting rain, heavy winds and possible lightning in Ames this Saturday.
As of mid-morning Friday, Gallus said the forecast for Saturday is looking up.
“It still looks likely to be storming from 4 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, but it is much more hopeful the storm could be done by the start of the game,” he said. “One of the three big weather models we depend on indicates it could be a little muggy and in the 70s during the game, which would really be perfect football weather.”
For now, all of the usual game day activities are continuing as scheduled. Parking lots will open at 5 a.m., and Jack Trice Stadium gates open at 9:30 a.m.
Where to turn for weather, game day updates
Any weather-related updates or changes to normal game day operations will be provided to central Iowa media, posted online at www.iastate.edu and www.cyclones.com, and shared via Facebook (Iowa State University, Iowa State Athletics) and Twitter (@CycloneFB, @CycloneATH, @IowaStateUNews, and @IowaStateU). If necessary, outdoor weather sirens and public address announcements will be used to warn fans in and surrounding Jack Trice Stadium.
The last time severe weather affected an Iowa State home football game was Nov. 12, 2005. Tornado threats prompted officials to shelter fans in secure buildings surrounding Jack Trice Stadium and delay the start of the game.
Not everyone heeded the warnings that night, says ISU Deputy Chief of Police Rob Bowers. Many tailgaters remained in the parking lots and kept on grilling, waiting for the storm to roll in. Bowers hopes more fans will put safety first this time around.
"Of course, we’d all like the storm threats to dissipate and not be a factor at Saturday’s game,” Bowers said. “But we need to rely on the science-based information being provided to us and plan ahead. If the situation warrants a severe weather announcement, we hope people will listen to the instructions and act accordingly.”
In advance of Saturday’s game, Bowers recommends some basic safety tips that he says might apply to any outdoor event in Iowa, in any season:
- Be aware of weather conditions at all times, especially when severe weather is predicted. Since storms can develop rapidly, the time available to provide warnings may be limited. It is best to rely on personal pre-planning and multiple sources of information.
- Sign up for email or text alerts from local television stations.
- Download a weather application for smart phones or mobile devices (many are free).
- If you receive a severe weather message, spread the word to those in your area, especially those who are outside. In the event of a tornado, shelter in a building is best. However, if you are caught outside, seek shelter in a low-lying area or ditch.
- If you hear thunder or see lightning, move to a safe place, preferably a fully enclosed building. If no safe buildings are nearby, get into a car with a hard metal top and close all the windows.
- Secure any lightweight items (tents, tables, chairs, grills) that may blow around in a wind storm and cause injury or property damage.
- Keep children who are under your care close by at all times.