Severe Weather Plans In Place For Green Country High School Football Games

Thursday, September 2nd 2010, 7:02 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

UNDATED -- While Green Country needs the rain, the timing of the stormy weather isn't ideal for the first night of high school football.

There are several Thursday night games and schools are watching the weather closely.

In Oologah, they're getting ready for the start of high school football.

Construction crews are wrapping up a million dollars worth of stadium renovations, and crews are testing a new sound system just hours before the season opener. But, there's the possibility the rumble of thunder will be heard as players get ready to rumble.

"We've had times when we've had to clear the stadium and move people inside," said Rick Thomas, Oologah Superintendent.

Thomas is watching the weather forecast closely.

"You know you're going to have a lot of people here and the last thing you want is people sitting up in the bleachers if there is lightning and that type of thing," he said.

School leaders have a plan to move fans to nearby school buildings if necessary.

"They'll have the option obviously to go to their cars if they choose too, but we'll have those places available for them," he said.

Severe storms aren't just a spring thing. The secondary storm season overlaps with much of football season. Keeping fans and players safe is a top priority.

Another big opening night game is Tulsa Central at Memorial, so Stephanie Spring, Tulsa Public Schools Athletic Director, is also watching the weather.

"You always want to err on the safety side of things so even if you postpone it for a while and resume it, you'd rather do that than take any chances," she said.

TPS uses hand-held lightning detectors. The district is also getting lightning detection systems to install at stadiums. TPS already has one, and will add ten more, but that won't happen until the tail end of the football season.

Until then, school leaders in Tulsa, Oologah and other districts will keep a close eye on radar and the sky.

"We're just kind of on pins and needles waiting to kickoff hoping everything goes good," Thomas said.

The Tulsa School Board is expected to approve spending $150,000 in existing stadium improvement bond money next week to buy and install the lightning detection systems.