MSU Police Explain Weather Delays at Football Games

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

It was the second rain delay in two weeks at Spartan Stadium and with a little convincing from MSU Basketball coach, Tom Izzo, Michael McGarry and several thousand other students may have never taken cover.

"I had pretty good seats and I had to leave," said McGarry. "I got worse seats when I got back. The radar said something, but you didn't see it there."

Whether fans saw lightning or not, MSU Police Capt. Penny Fischer syas the only two game suspensions in recent history have been completely necessary.

"Even though you can't see what's coming, you really need to think of the larger idea because you are inside a stadium with metal seats that certainly could be conductive to lightning," she said.

According to Fischer, who heads her department's Emergency Management Division, MSU gets forecasts from the National Weather Service. If there's a lightning strike within 15 miles of the stadium, the game is suspended and the crowd evacuated.

She knows it's a lot easier to understand when fans can see the storm, like in the season opener.

"Although we saw both approaching, the Friday night front moved upon us very quickly and a pop-up storm came close to the Lansing-area unannounced," said Capt. Fischer.

That game was called midway through the first quarter. Saturday's game was suspended before kickoff, due to a line of storms heading toward the campus. In 26 years with MSU Police, Fischer says she's never seen anything like it, but adds the school will do anything to keep its fans safe.

"If we have conditions that warrant that we have to evacuate the stadium, we will continue to do it whenever that is present," she said.

Fischer says MSU Police is working on a method of evacuating students without losing their 'first-come, first-serve' seats.

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