ECAC INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY
If preliminary rounds are scheduled for Wednesday and inclement weather postpones them, the games will move to Thursday. During the weekend semifinal and championship rounds, postponement of games results in an immediate reschedule of the game(s) for the next day (i.e., the semifinals will take place on Sunday and the finals will take place on or whenever the two schools may reschedule within the next week).
In instances where one semifinal game is played and the other is rained out, the championship game will not be played on the same day as the rescheduled semifinal. The championship game will be played the next day or a day mutually agreed on by both schools within the week. This will continue until the schools complete the tournament (i.e., the semifinals are on Sunday and the championship is on Tuesday). If no resolution is reached, co-champions are declared.
The following procedures should be used when rescheduling officials:
1. Contact officials regarding the postponement and see if they are available for the rescheduled game(s). If they are available, confirm that they must arrive 60 minutes before the game for a pre-game conference.
2. If there is an official scheduled to work a game on Saturday who is not available for the rescheduled game on Sunday, the previously scheduled Sunday officials should be available to officiate the semifinal game.
Lightning is the most consistent and significant weather hazard that may affect intercollegiate athletics. While the probability of being struck by lightning is extremely low, the odds are significantly reduced when a storm is in the area and the proper safety precautions are implemented.
Prevention and education are the keys to lightning safety. It is important to know that the existence of blue sky and the absence of rain are not protection from lightning. Lightning can, and does, strike as far as 10 miles away from the rain shaft. It does not have to be raining for lightning to strike.
The ECAC recommends that all officials understand these guidelines and are prepared to implement them should lightning occur during a game.
If a storm is in the forecast, designate a chain of command as to who monitors threatening weather and who makes the decision to remove the team or individuals from the site of competition.
Also, know where the closest "safe structure or location" is to the field or playing area and know how long it takes to get to that structure or location. A safe shelter is defined as any sturdy building that has metal plumbing or wiring, or both, to electrically ground the structure (e.g. not a shed or shack). In the absence of a sturdy building as described above, any vehicle with a hard metal roof (e.g. not a golf cart or convertible) with the windows rolled up is the next best option.
30 Seconds - STOP
Stop the game when there is a 30 second or less "flash to bang" (thunder) time. At 30 seconds "flash to bang," the lightning strike is six miles away.
The game should be stopped earlier if there are extraordinary circumstances regarding getting everyone to safe shelter. Safe shelter is defined as a solid building with plumbing and electricity or, secondarily, motor vehicles with metal roofs and the windows rolled up.
30 minutes - RESUME
Resume the game no sooner than 30 minutes after the last visible lightning flash or the last sound of thunder.
Determining the Distance to a Lightning Strike
The distance to a lightning strike can be determined by using a "flash to bang (thunder)" counting method. Sound travels one mile every five seconds. When you see the lightning, count the seconds until you hear thunder. If five seconds elapse, the lightning strike was one mile away. Ten seconds equals two miles... thirty seconds equals six miles. If you are doing the 30-second count and do not use a stopwatch, using your beeper for 20 seconds of the count may increase your accuracy.
The following recommendations have been adopted to increase lightning safety:
1. If the “flash-to-bang” interval is decreasing rapidly, and the storm is approaching your location, or if the “flash-to-bang” count approaches thirty (30) seconds, all outdoor athletic contests/activities must cease. All persons must immediately leave the athletic site and seek safe shelter.
2. Stay away from tall or individual trees, lone objects (e.g. lights or flag poles), metal objects (e.g. metal fences or bleachers), standing pools of water, and open fields. Also, avoid being the tallest object in a field (e.g. press box).
3. If there is no safe shelter within a reasonable distance, crouch in a thick grove of small trees surrounded by taller trees. Crouching with only your feet touching the ground and keeping your feet close together, wrap you arms around your knees and lower your head to minimize your body’s surface area. It is important that you do not lie flat.
4. If you feel your hair stand on end or tingle or hear crackling noises, immediately crouch (as stated in No. 3) to minimize your body surface area.
5. Allow thirty (30) minutes to pass after the last sound of thunder or flash of lightning before resuming any intercollegiate athletic activity.
6. Lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge. CPR is safe for the responder and has been shown to be effective in reviving lightning strike victims.
7. Pay more attention to the lightning threat than to the rain. It need not be raining for lightning to strike; lightning can strike far from the rain shaft.
Officials concerned about the distraction of counting or measuring the "flash to bang" time can consider several options (beyond appointing someone else to do the "flash to bang" counting or a league/association policy requiring that a person to do the counting be available):
Before the game starts, arrange to have the institution provide a lightning detector (device) and, hopefully, someone trained to use it.
Buy a beeper, like a lightning detector, which signals when the lightning strikes are within 25, 12, six ... miles. One such $80 device is described at this Web site: http://www.strikealert.com/ProductInfo.htm