GYSC Policy 016- Weather and Lightning
Purpose: To establish a safe playing atmosphere during the soccer season for the
Gettysburg Youth Soccer Club and establish guidelines and procedures for inclement
weather. This policy serves to inform GYSC Participants of the guidelines to utilize when
thunderstorms approach. This policy applies to league participants, referees, coaches, and
Lightning is a hazard that must be taken seriously by coaches, referees, parents,
spectators and participants. Lightning is a form of electrical discharge between clouds or
between a cloud and the ground. The discharge may take place between two parts of the
same cloud, between two clouds or between a cloud and the ground.
Thunder is the sound waves produced by the explosive heating of air in the lightning
channel during the return. The average lightning strike is six miles long (but could strike
from 20 miles away resulting in "a bolt out of the blue"), reaches 50,000 degrees
Fahrenheit (four times as hot as the sun's surface), and voltage in a cloud-to-ground strike
is 100 million to 1 billion volts. Thunder can only be heard about 12 miles away under
quiet outdoor conditions.
Ground-based items such as fences, trees, blades of grass, light poles, bleachers,
dugouts and people emit varying degrees of induced electric activity which can act as a
lightning rod. It is worth noting that many of the lightning deaths and injuries that occur
each year are from the first lightning strike from an incoming storm or come from the rear
of a storm that appears to have passed through an area.
Previously, many people have relied on the "Flash/Bang" technique (the sound of
thunder will take five seconds to travel one mile) to measure their distance from lightning.
You must be aware that on average, thunder can only be heard over a distance of only three
to four miles. By the time you hear thunder, you are already well within the reach of a
lightning strike. For this reason GYSC has instituted a weather policy for when observed or
heard lightning or thunder is present.
The GYSC Lightning Policy is as follows:
1. 1. Observed lightning or thunder heard will suspend play immediately. All
participants, coaches, match officials, and fans shall seek shelter for a period of no
less than 30 minutes.
2. Additional strikes will reset the clock to 30 minutes until the threat has past. Fields
with weather detection devices will add an additional level of precaution, their
operation detecting that conditions are present even though no observed inclement
weather may have surfaced will also suspend play until the weather threat is no
longer present. Use of good judgment, common sense, and precaution will only
result in safety for all involved. Referees should feel, using their best judgment that
if the potential threat is present, they have the authority to suspend the match.
3. Matches suspended before the start of the second half will be delayed and played in
their entirety as possible so that teams traveling and match officials present can
complete the scheduled game. Match delays shall not be longer than the match time
scheduled, therefore a match consisting of two 30 minute halves should resume no
later than 1 hour past the scheduled kick off (a match with two 25 minute halves
should resume within 50 minutes of scheduled kick off). Matches unable to continue
due to this time constraint or the inability to continue due to impending darkness
shall be rescheduled dependent on field availability and played in their entirety.
Match officials assigned shall do all within reason to complete their assigned match,
if time delays interfere with assigned matches later in the day, please notify the
assignor during the delay so that those matches can be re-assigned.
4. Matches being played and already into the second half will be considered valid, they
will not be rescheduled, and the score will be entered into their respective division
5. Referee fees: If the match has begun yet not entered the second half before
suspension and the match cannot be completed as outlined above, then the referees
will return match fees to the respective teams and file a match report outlining that
the match was suspended for inclement weather and the league will pay one half
match fees to the match officials. If the match has entered the second half, or the
match is restarted and completed in its entirety from a suspension in the first half,
the match officials will retain the match fees received from the teams.
Things to Consider
● Stay tuned to local weather forecasts and radar if thunderstorms are predicted.
● Stay away from metal including fencing, bleachers, flagpoles, dugouts, sheds, and
● Avoid high places, open areas, overhead wires and power lines, telephones and
cellular phones, radios, isolated trees, picnic shelters, golf carts, or any type of
● If you are outside, the interior of a car, truck, or bus with a metal roof and the
windows closed is relatively safe from lightning. To be safe, do not touch the metal
on the inside of the vehicle.
● If you are outdoors with no shelter available, find a low spot away from trees,
bleachers, fences, and other metal structures. Make sure the area is not prone to
● If you feel your hair suddenly stand on end, it means you may be a lightning target.
● Crouch low on the balls of your feet and try not to touch the ground with your knees
● Just because the skies look relatively clear, a lightning strike can still occur.
Additional Weather Policy Information
It is the responsibility of the club president to determine the conditions of the fields and
declare them open or closed. He/She then informs the coaches via email of his/her
decision. In the event that the president declares the fields open, practices are then held
unless the coach indicates otherwise. Coaches may not cancel games at their own
discretion. It is the coach’s responsibility to inform players whether or not practices will be
held on days with inclement weather.