Band of storms delays football games in Midwest

September 3, 2011 - 7:15 PM
South Florida Notre Dame Football

Heavy rains fall as Notre Dame Stadium was evacuated because of sever weather at half time of an NCAA college football game between the Notre Dame and the South Florida in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A band of storms caused delays at college football games throughout the Midwest.

Fans were asked to evacuate Michigan Stadium on Saturday late in the third quarter against Western Michigan during a second break because of lightning.

Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., was evacuated at halftime against South Florida because of lightning. Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, also was cleared during the Hawkeyes 34-7 win over Tennessee Tech.

One storm passed over the South Bend area but another was approaching, delaying the start of the second half. The half ended at 5:12 p.m. EDT, and an official said the teams would remain in their locker rooms until it was determined that it was safe for play to continue.

South Florida held a 16-0 lead over No. 16 Notre Dame after the second quarter.

At Michigan Stadium, fans were encouraged to leave the stadium during a heavy downpour with strong winds and lightning, but it was not evacuated during the first of two delays. Tens of thousands of fans in Ann Arbor waited out the weather as the Big House was mostly full when the game resumed about 30 minutes later in the third quarter.

Later in the same quarter, lightning strikes in the area stopped the game for a second time, and the aisles filled with fans leaving.

About half of the student section and hundreds of people in each section seemed to stay put, hoping for another brief delay while video boards showed radar maps with storms surrounding the area, only to be forced to exit the stands during an evacuation.