Foul-weather group has game plan for weather emergencies

November 18, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — If a storm visits campus Saturday along with the Michigan Wolverines, an off-the-field team will be ready to get in the game.

There’s no snow or rain in the forecast — temperatures in the mid 40s are expected — but the Continuity Planning for Foul-Weather Football Games Committee still has a strategy if Mother Nature tries to sack Happy Valley.

While game day crews have always been on alert for changes in the weather and unexpected issues that come with traveling and living in central Pennsylvania, this designated and intentional Continuity Planning committee was formed in 2014 after a nor'easter slammed the area, forcing the closure of multiple unpaved parking lots before the season's final home game. The committee identified standby parking options for every game weekend throughout the Centre Region that could accommodate vehicles redirected from Beaver Stadium.

In addition, extra security measures have been taken for Saturday's game, as well for a Friday concert at the Bryce Jordan Center. 

Earlier this year, the committee reached agreements with municipalities, schools and businesses for emergency parking areas where fans would be picked up via 10 shuttle routes. The committee established standby parking in 36 lots, providing as many 4,400 parking spaces. The group also has worked on evacuation plans for the stadium in the event of lightning strikes — something that has impacted other college and professional venues at various times. 

“Plans like this don’t come together without a strong campus and community relationship,” said Mark Bodenschatz, athletic director for facilities and operations. “We’re always looking for ways to enhance fan experience and this ensures that disruptions from last-minute changes are minimized, and that safety is a priority when moving fans into and out of the area.”

In times of inclement weather, fans are encouraged to check University social media channels, www.GoPSUsports.com and local media outlets for updates. Digital signage will also be placed prominently along the stadium route if major changes to parking and traffic patterns occur. Questions can also be directed to 1-800-NITTANY.

The committee consists of representatives from Intercollegiate Athletics, the Office of Physical Plant, Police & Public Safety, Transportation Services, Risk Management, the Office of Strategic Communications and Center Region Emergency Management.

Penn State football home games attract an average of 99,351 fans per game, ranking sixth highest in the nation among NCAA programs. 

Kickoff is set for noon for Saturday's Senior Day, White-Out game against Michigan.

Last Updated November 24, 2015