It's going to be a sloppy night on high school football fields thanks to Hurricane Laura.

After the storm makes landfall on the Gulf Coast it will continue to move inland, impacting the eastern part of Texas, the full western side of Louisiana, and finally nearly all of Arkansas before making what looks to be a hard right turn toward the Tri-State Friday morning.

Fortunately for us, the storm will have lost its hurricane classification well before it makes it to the Tri-State meaning we won't have the hurricane-force winds to deal with like those along the Gulf Coast. What we will have to deal with is quite a bit of rain. Which as we know all too well, brings its own fair share of problems.

How much depends on where you live in the Tri-State. Based on the latest protections from the National Weather Service, those of us north of the Ohio River will see slightly less than those of us south of it.

According to a Hazardous Weather Statement from the National Weather Service posted Wednesday morning, the system will make it's way into the area during the day Friday and ramp up in intensity going into Friday night. The exact impact it will have on any football games in Indiana (Kentucky's season doesn't start until September 11th, and Illinois has pushed their season back to Spring 2021), depends on what shows up. The statement say possible threats include "A few strong to severe thunderstorms...with brief spin-up tornadoes and strong wind gusts," and that "heavy rainfall will pose a
flooding threat as well."

If all we get is rain, even heavy rain, the games will go on. I've been both a spectator in the stands, and done play-by-play for games where it's raining so hard, I'm not sure how the players can see 10 yards down the field.

The only time the game will be paused is if there is lightning. IHSAA rules require play to be stopped for 30 minutes after lightening is sighted in the area. If that happens, all players, coaches, and officials head to the locker rooms (or some other safe space) while spectators are encouraged to do the same. For those in the stands, that would likely be the school building. The 30 minute timer resets each time lightning is spotted, which can obviously make for a long night if the storm produces multiple lightning strikes.

If you plan on attending a game, make sure you have an umbrella, and a poncho. It also probably would be a good idea to throw a dry change of clothes in the car to change into after the game for the ride home.

Of course, games can be rescheduled if necessary. The most important thing about what we're expected to see Friday night and into the remainder of the weekend is that everyone gets through it safely, and that any damage caused by flood waters or wind is minimal.

[Source: National Weather Service in Paducah]

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