UPDATE, 5:30 p.m. PT: The weather system appears to have cleared out, and thunderstorms no longer appear to be a threat to the game. Whew! Additionally, it looks like we’re heading for good Air Raidin’ weather ... at least until maybe the end of the game (remember, what you see below is mountain time):
The original story appears below.
One thing about locating a city in the high desert next to some mountains is that it can be prone to some extreme weather events, and if Saturday’s weather forecast for Salt Lake City is to be believed, we might be in for one for tomorrow’s football game between the Washington State Cougars and Utah Utes.
Currently, according to Weather Underground, there is a greater than 55% chance of rain each hour from 6 a.m. through the remainder of the day and evening with the attendant possibility for thunderstorms every single hour. Around game time — 8 p.m. MT — it looks like this:
As we learned with the contest between the Washington Huskies and California Golden Bears a few weeks ago, the Pac-12 takes lightning very seriously — there is a protocol in place to clear the field when there is lightning in the area and only return when there has been no lightning activity for 30 minutes.
WSU spokesperson Bill Stevens said there have been no conversations about potentially trying to work the schedule of the game around the weather, and that the current plan is what it always is: Intend to start the game on time and work with Pac-12 officials to follow the established protocols if the weather intervenes.
One would guess that the Pac-12 would like to avoid a repeat of the game finishing in the middle of the night, but the forecast doesn’t exactly leave a lot of room for moving things around — to say nothing of whatever reluctance the Pac-12 television partner (in this case, Fox) would have in terms of moving the game to a different time.
An interesting wrinkle is that both Utah and WSU are on bye next week. We can assume neither team would like to give up their bye week — particularly WSU, after having already traveled to Salt Lake City — but it does present an option if the weather is unrelenting; schools in the southeast have rescheduled games for later in the year during mutual byes to avoid hurricane activity.