BWSA Weather & Lightning Policy

Big Walnut Soccer Association Guidelines for Lightning and Hazardous Weather Conditions as recommended by Ohio South Youth Soccer Association

The protection of Big Walnut Soccer Association (BWSA) participants is of paramount importance.  BWSA recognizes the danger presented by lightning, tornados and other hazardous weather. The following items represent generally accepted principles regarding the dangers involved with lightning and tornados. 


  • • All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. 
  • • Lightning often strikes as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall. You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. You are in danger if you can see lightning. 
  • • Lightning injuries can lead to permanent disabilities or death. Look for dark cloud bases and increasing wind.
  • • Lightning can travel sideways for up to 10 miles and strike when skies are blue. 
  • • Soccer fields are a dangerous place to be during a lightning storm. When lightning is seen or thunder is heard, or when dark threatening clouds are observed, quickly suspend the game and/or practice and move to a safe location. 
  • • Avoid standing in an open area, near soccer goals, under a tent, near trees or in water. The safest place during a thunderstorm with or without visible lightning is in a car, but not a convertible. 


  • • Watch for rapidly darkening skies.
  • • The sound of an approaching tornado is often described as that of an approaching train. 
  • • The funnel of a tornado does not have to touch down to cause extensive damage and injuries.  
  • • Tornados can produce winds of 300 miles per hour or more. 
  • • Most people who are hurt during a tornado are hurt when they are struck by flying debris.
  • • Seek safety in a solid structure, preferably in a basement or in an interior room.  If no building is available, lay down in a ditch. 


In any of the circumstances outlined below occurs, the referee should immediately suspend the game.

1. If thunder is heard, the game should be suspended and the fields cleared. Everyone should immediately go to a safe shelter. 

2. If lightning is seen, the game should be suspended and the fields cleared. Everyone should immediately go to a safe shelter. 

3. If a thunderstorm is heard or seen coming or your hair stands on end, the game should be suspended and the fields cleared. Everyone should immediately go to a safe shelter. Do not wait until it rains. 

If the game official does not immediately suspend the game when any one of the points above have occurred, the head coach from each team can agree that one of the four criteria listed above have occurred they are to withdraw their teams from the field. If this action is taken, then both coaches must submit a written report to their league outlining the circumstances, the facts concerning the weather conditions at that time, the fact that the two coaches were in agreement and the name of the officials at the game. 

If an official and one of the coaches do not reach the conclusion to suspend the game and any one of the four points listed above are believed to have occurred, the coach that supported the suspension of the game is to send a written report to the league outlining the facts and the names of the officials. 

No one should retake the field or re-start the game until all of the lightning and thunder or other hazardous weather has left the area. Specifically, no one should retake the filed for a minimum of 30 minutes after the last lightning is seen or thunder is heard, or the dangerously high winds have passed.  

BWSA has established procedures for replaying of any games suspended due to lightning or tornados.