Thunderstorms + EEE Concerns = Tricky Night For Outdoor Events in West Michigan
Friday night could be, well, let's just say a mess for several scheduled outdoor events across the region.
First of all, several high schools playing football games in Kalamazoo, Calhoun and surrounding counties have moved games much earlier due to concerns about a recent wave of Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Kick-off times range from 4:30 to 5:00 this afternoon as the are trying to make sure games end before dusk, when mosquitos are more active. There is also a major concert taking place in Richland tonight as Luke Bryan is set to perform the next leg of his Farm Tour. Concert officials have been spraying fir mosquitos at Stafford Farms where at least 20,000 people are expected to gather for the show.
Meanwhile, the weather forecast has complicated things even more, potentially. Numerous thuderstorms that are expected to bring gusty winds, hail, and lightning are forecast forecast for the area this afternoon and evening. Lightning and/or hail would delay games, so then a decision would have to be made on how late to start or continue play, as it would start to encroach the sunset time they are trying to avoid.
WWMT even gave somewhat of a warning in the High School Football forecast on their website...
High School Football: Numerous thunderstorms with heavy rain. Isolated storms may contain hail or gusty winds. Near 70 degrees at Kickoff, upper 60s in the 4th quarter. SSW 15-25 mph. Good luck! - wwmt.com
Not to mention, if there is lightning or large hail, the Luke Bryan concert would also have to be paused or delayed while 20,000 people are gathered out in a field. What a potential mess. Let's hope, in this case, that the forecast changes quickly. Meanwhile, below are some links to keep you informed and prepared as local schools continue to battle EEE.