Storms End Idaho-Florida Football Game, Delay 2 Others

By Mark Leberfinger, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
September 2, 2014; 12:48 PM ET
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The Swamp turned into a swamp Saturday night as strong storms moved through the Gainesville, Florida, area.

The weather forced the termination of the Idaho-Florida college football game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium after just one play. Lightning also caused delays at two other games across the United States during the opening weekend of the college football season.

More than 8,800 lightning strikes were recorded around Florida between 7 p.m. and midnight local time, AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Edward Vallee said.

Game officials waited almost three hours as lightning strikes continued within an 8-mile radius of the stadium, forcing them to keep extending the delay.

Idaho kicked off to Florida to start the season opener for both teams at 9:50 p.m., but another lightning strike occurred inside the radius.

Lightning strikes near Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field during a weather delay before an NCAA college football game between Florida and Idaho in Gainesville, Florida, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

"It's unfortunate that the weather didn't cooperate for tonight's season opener," Gators Coach Will Muschamp said, according to GatorZone.com. "After long discussions with the head referee, it was determined that the field conditions were too dangerous for the student-athletes."

With high pressure off Gainesville's east, the flow was east to west. With that in mind, a sea breeze boundary (a boundary that is created due to a land-sea temperature contrast) formed in the East Coast early in the afternoon and pushed inland near Gainesville during the evening, Vallee said.

"Along this boundary, air is forced upward and combines with the tropical airmass (dew points in the middle 70s) that allow slow moving, heavy rain-producing storms to form," Vallee said. "The precipitation began at 6:27 p.m and intensified quickly as it reached the Swamp. Gainesville Regional Airport received 1.81 inches of rain between 6:27 and 10:00 p.m."

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The storms left the playing surface unplayable at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The game could be rescheduled, the University of Florida said.

Contests between Montana and Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming, and Temple and Vanderbilt at Nashville, Tennessee, were also delayed Saturday. They resumed play and completed their games.

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