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Referee Severe Weather

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506. Inclement Weather

The safety of the players, coaches, management and spectators are of primary concern during any weather event that occurs during a match. By following these few basic guidelines, the safety of everyone shall be greatly increased. Ultimately, the referee has final say over delaying a game due to weather, and waiting to stop play may result in a serious injury or loss of life. Act responsibly when dealing with such events during all games.

To determine the distance of lightning in your area, count the number of seconds between the flash and the first sound of the thunder and divide by five. This will give you the distance in miles from your location. Remember, if you are in a higher elevation, the lightning can come upon you much quicker and your reaction time is greatly hindered.

1) If a severe weather watch is in effect for game time, it is suggested that the home team have a battery operated programmer.

2) When lightning is sighted within (10) ten miles of the venue, determine movement and status and begin making preparations for a potential delay in the game.

3) When lightning is sighted within (6) six miles of the venue, stop the game immediately and clear the field and stands regardless of time played in the match. Lightning can strike at any time without warning within this proximity. Wait at least thirty minutes after the last lightning strike to resume play. Agreement must be reached between teams and referee whether the game is to be abandoned at its current status.

4) If the venue is the highest structure in the surrounding area, get spectators out of the stands and into a protected area as quickly as possible when lightning is within five miles of the venue. The structure/stands will act as a potential lightning rod for the storm and create much danger for those in the immediate area.

5) If severe weather warning is issued during game, determine vicinity to venue and prepare to delay game. It is vital to know your exact location to be able to take immediate actions should conditions warrant it.

6) Be sure to send all players, coaches, and spectators to their vehicles - nobody shall be on or near the fields or lights.

7) Be smart when dealing with potential weather threats.

506a. Lighting

506a.1 Recognizing the threat

1) Apply the 30-30 rule. When you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If this time is 30 seconds or less, seek proper shelter. Wait 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder before leaving shelter.

2) Obey the rules established by the community park lightning detection and warning systems.

3) Minimize the risk of being struck. Protect the safety of all participants by stopping activities quickly, so that participants and spectators may retire to a safer place. If you can hear the thunder, you are within reach of lightning.

4) Remain calm to prevent panic by young players.

506a.2 Seeking Proper Shelter

1) No place outside is safe near thunderstorms

2) The best shelter is a large, fully enclosed, substantially constructed building. A vehicle with a solid metal roof and metal sides is a reasonable second choice.

506a.3 Most Dangerous Locations

1) Higher elevations
2) Wide open areas, including fields
3) Tall isolated objects, such as trees, poles, or light posts
4) Unprotected open buildings
5) Rain shelters
6) Bus stops
7) Metal fences and metal bleachers

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