Storm forces evacuation of Notre Dame Stadium

Published Sep. 3, 2011 11:54 p.m. EDT

Fans were asked to evacuate Notre Dame Stadium at halftime of Saturday's game against South Florida as lightning flashed near the facility. One storm passed over the area but then another one arrived, delaying the start of the second half for more than an hour.

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

Fans were told they could go to buildings near the stadium to seek refuge. Some of them initially remained in their seats before they were chased out minutes later by a hard rain.

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.


After the first squall passed, some student managers at Notre Dame went to the bench area to collect and cart off some gear. Shortly thereafter, officials announced that a second storm with high winds was approaching and it would take at least another half an hour to determine if play could continue.

A Notre Dame spokesman said teams must play three full quarters for the game to be official, according to the NCAA.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told NBC he met with South Florida officials and both coaches, and they agreed that no video would be watched during the delay. He said that food would be brought in for both teams.

About an hour and a half after the teams left the field, a huge ominous dark cloud, part of the second storm, hung over the empty stadium and more rain began to fall. Some managers from South Florida raced to their sideline to take away some left-behind equipment before it became too intense.

The storm was believed to be the first weather delay in Notre Dame's long football history.