Severe Weather Procedures

August 22. 2018

Coaches & Team Admins - 

Severe Weather

With two days in a row of severe weather at game time, Please take a moment to refresh your memories as to the procedures for severe weather.  I have included the information from the SRC that is posted on UYSA’s website.  Weather Bug’s Spark Lightning app should be used as the advanced/new technology to aid referees in making a decision about weather conditions.  Lightning within 10 miles is not negotiable.  Seek shelter immediately.  The directions in paragraph 2 state that referees should make sure to use any new or advanced technology.  The Spark Lightning app is that technology and is not specific to any one field.  It is available for use at all fields and should be the go-to notification system for both referees and coaches.


How long do we wait & what constitutes a complete game vs reschedule? 

How long do you wait out the weather before early termination of the game is still at the referee's discretion.  It will most likely be determined by whether there is a following game, sunset or how long people are willing to wait the storm out.  30 minutes has historically been a starting point if the game is not limited by a following game nor sunset.


Note in the UYSA policy below what referees need to know in order to properly report the outcome of the game.  Early Termination due to weather prior to 15 min into the 2nd half is considered an “abandoned game” and will be rescheduled in it’s entirety.  A game terminated after 15 min into the 2nd half is considered a completed match.  This is regardless of the age of the teams playing and the overall length of the 2nd half.  The referee shall report the match as complete with the score as it stands at early termination.

Note that UYSA policy also states that early termination due to field conditions such as a field flooding due to retention pond run off, stadium lights going out, sprinklers coming on, other conditions that make the field unplayable…..then the match shall be rescheduled.

Use of the words SHALL does not give leeway for the referee to decide a different outcome than what is specified in policy.

I would encourage you to print these procedures out and put them in your Team Binder.  It's always helpful when you have paperwork everyone can look at and read to come to a consensus on what should be done when you are at the field.

Practice/Training Sessions

As L30 Coaches you are expected to use the Weather Bug Spark Lightning app in determining whether it is safe to practice or hold a training session.  The app is available for iPhone and androids. It is no longer acceptable to count seconds between thunder booms, when a better technology exists.  We are WAY beyond that.  Use the app or have someone in your group/team use the app and notify you when weather is deemed unsafe.


Tracy Proulx

UYSA State Certified Registrar

This is posted on the website - under Resources - Download Center - Miscellaneous forms:

To: Chair, State Referee Committee State Referee Administrators

State Directors of Referee Instruction
State Directors of Referee Assessment National Referees, Assessors, and Instructors

From: Alfred Kleinaitis
Manager of Referee Development and Education

Re: Dealing with Severe Weather

Date: April 6, 2005

This position paper provides basic guidelines for dealing with lightning, windstorms, and other severe weather conditions. (This paper supersedes the paper dated September 23, 2003, on the same topic.) The peak season for severe weather occurs in the United States between May and August, typically in the late afternoon and early evening. Before taking any of the actions outlined in sections 1 (Lightning) or 2 (Other types of severe weather), you must consider the instructions in the following paragraph:

Many stadium operators, park districts, and school districts have acquired and installed advanced technology that can aid the referee in making decisions about weather conditions. If there is any indication that severe weather may occur, check with the appropriate authorities (field or park manager, athletic director, stadium operations personnel, city or county parks or education departments, etc.) for the latest information before making any decisions. Also check with these authorities during any weather-related interruption, as the new technology may allow you to restart earlier than indicated after a stoppage. It is not necessary to wait thirty (30) minutes when this assistance is available.

1. Lightning

  1. Recognizing the threat

    1. (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. If you can't see the lightning, just hearing the thunder is a good back-up rule. Wait 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder before leaving shelter.

    2. (2)  Know and heed warning systems and community rules
      Many communities or park systems have lightning detection and warning systems. Use this information and obey the rules established by the community or park system.

    3. (3)  Know and apply the rules or procedures established by the competition authority

    4. (4)  Minimize the risk of being struck

      Protect the safety of all participants by stopping game activities quickly, so that participants and spectators may retire to a safer place before the lightning threat becomes significant. Remember, if you can hear the thunder, you are within reach of lightning.

  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.

  3. If there is no proper shelter, avoid the most dangerous locations: Higher elevations; wide open areas, including fields; tall isolated objects, such as trees, poles, or light posts; unprotected open buildings; rain shelters; bus stops; metal fences and metal bleachers.

  1. If you cannot avoid these locations, crouch down on the balls of your feet, with your head tucked into your chest and your hands over your ears.
    If someone is hit, remember that all deaths from lightning result from cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, respectively, are the recommended first aid. Referees should become involved in such assistance only if they have proper training.

  2. Remain calm. A calm official will often be able to prevent panic by young players.

2. Other types of severe weather

For all other types of severe storms, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and hail, obey local rules and heed warnings. Clear the field and seek proper shelter immediately – see above. Remember, according to standard weather warning terminology a "warning" represents a more immediately likely occurrence than a "watch."


If there is a possibility of severe weather, the referee and assistant referees should discuss these guidelines in their pregame meeting and ensure that all officials have a clear understanding of their respective duties. Referees in particular should clearly identify what assistance they expect in detecting and bringing to their immediate attention any dangerous weather conditions which may not be directly visible to them. If such conditions develop only after a match has begun, the referee should take the first stoppage opportunity to quickly review these matters with the assistant referees. A brief word to the coaches regarding steps the referee will take to ensure player safety in threatening weather conditions would be useful. 

UYSA policy posted in Section 6 - 6315 Matches 7. Early Termination UYSA Policy

    1. If a match is terminated after fifteen (15) minutes of the second half has elapsed because of the weather or because of grave disorder on the part of the coaches, players, or spectators of a team that is losing at the point of termination, the match shall be considered a completed match.

    2. If a match is terminated at any point because of grave disorder on the part of the coaches, players, or spectators of a team that is winning or tied at the point of termination, such team will forfeit the match 1-0.

    3. If a match is terminated early due to field conditions such as failure of lights, destruction of a goal, or other conditions making the field unplayable, the match shall be rescheduled.

    4. A match rescheduled due to early termination shall be replayed in its entirety.

    5. Referee fees must be paid again at a match rescheduled due to early termination.