Weather conditions are the responsibility of the game officials, coaches, tournament directors and club administrators. All should be aware of the potential dangers posed by different weather conditions and work together to keep the players and other participants as safe as possible. If the weather conditions warrant, game officials and coaches should discuss before the game starts what the procedures will be to ensure the safety of the players. Tournament directors should monitor weather conditions including the warnings and watches issued by the National Weather Service. In the event of sudden changes, the tournament directors should have a means of sending warnings to the site officials. A weather plan should be provided to the participating teams to allow a clear understanding of shelter locations, evacuation plans and how the weather will affect tournament results. Club administrators should perform similar functions for league play.
Technology has improved the monitoring capability for all concerned. There are many new apps for phones and tablets that provide accurate and timely weather reports, forecasts and warnings. Lightning detectors can take the guesswork out of how far away lightning is. Cell phones and two-way radios can meet communication requirements to implement weather plans.
Note: We do not send mass emails to all of our members when a weather event occurs. We will announce weather closures on our Facebook page, and if time allows, we will update our main Website once we get off the field and back to a computer.
Our Facebook pages can be found here:
It is strongly recommended that coaches all have the latest weather apps loaded on their phones. These apps should include instant weather conditions and lightning strike notification.
Conditions in one location may be very different from another, especially the further apart the two locations are. The coaches are responsible for keeping informed of the weather conditions at home, along their route to the game and at the game site. The coaches are also responsible for communications with the opposing coach and their own team in the event of inclement weather. Discussions between the coaches must provide for common sense to prevail.
Severe storms can produce high winds, heavy rain, hail, lightning, thunder and/or tornados. If a severe storm approaches the playing area, the safety of the players is the number one priority of coaches and referees, and may require that the game is suspended while shelter is sought. In the event the game is suspended, ALL participants MUST clear the field immediately and move into their cars or another permanent shelter.
High winds can create problems by dust and debris being in the air or blowing over objects. Heavy rain can create hazardous field conditions or lead to flash flooding. Hail can cause injury. Lightning and thunder is discussed separately below. Tornados are obvious dangers of any severe storm. Use common sense and seek shelter as appropriate.
Lightning is the second leading cause of storm-related deaths (flooding is first). Lightning can strike up to 10 miles outside of a thunderstorm, literally a bolt from the blue. The danger from lightning can persist for 20-30 minutes or more after a thunderstorm has passed. The National Weather Service does not issue watches or warnings for lightning by itself. However, the National Weather Service does advise that if you see a lightning bolt and hear the thunder in 30 seconds or less, you seek shelter and wait 30 minutes before resuming outdoor activity.
If a person can hear thunder, or see lightning, the danger already is present. A clear, sunny sky overhead with storm clouds nearby can still be dangerous.
Referees and Coaches should adhere to the following:
Heat is a problem when it prevents the body from cooling itself. The hotter the body gets, the more likely it is to increase fatigue levels, develop cramps and increase the possibility of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The hotter and more humid the weather, the faster these problems can develop. Temperatures as low as 65 degrees, with a relative humidity of 100%, can be serious.
1. A heat index chart should be given to every coach and referee (www.nws.noaa.gov)
2. Games need to be adjusted as the heat index rises:
3. Provide training to coaches to teach the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Club administrators and tournament officials are responsible for monitoring the heat index (by weather radio, online or the Weather Channel) and keeping the participating teams and game officials informed of the heat index. Coaches are encouraged to also monitor the conditions. The following are recommended when there is a possibility of dangerous high heat index:
Sometimes, cold becomes a factor. Players should be allowed to dress in appropriate clothing. Field conditions will be affected by freezing rain, sleet, and snow. The ground may become frozen and be unsafe for play. Temperature means either ambient (still air) or wind chill index. Check weather radio frequently for temperature and weather conditions.