Sports league officials say safety is ‘number one priority’ when it comes to dangerous weather

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The sun shines now, but when clouds roll in safety is the number one priority for north Alabama's sports officials.

"We have had complaints when we've canceled games, but we're always able to say 'well nobody got hurt,'" assures David Bell, President of the North Alabama Football Association.

He says the administration makes the call to cancel a game if there's a heavy downpour or other threats before they hit the field. For that they consult weather forecasts and alerts.

But if there's lightning in the sky, they use the National Federation for High School Sports association guidelines. While Bell heads the NAFA, and he says the same guidelines are followed in any city league sport.

The guidelines are simple.

"If we see any cloud to ground lightning strikes or we see lightning off in the distance, and if within 30 seconds we hear thunder, we are required to stop all activities and get people in a safe place," explained Bell.

The game won't resume until 30 minutes after any threats have passed.

Bell advises to parents if you're out watching a game and hear thunder or see lightning in the distance, bring it to the officials attention. You may see it before they do, giving them more time to get everyone to safety.