Sunday, January 5, 2014
Weather Impacting Sports
On Jan. 5, 1986, a game between the Seattle SuperSonics and Phoenix Suns was suspended early in the second quarter as a result of rain. The heavy rain outside began to leak through the roof of the arena in Seattle, leading to the first time an NBA game would be delayed because of rain.
This would also become the first time an NBA game would be suspended and resume on another day. The following day, the two teams returned and the Suns completed a win.
In Dec. 2010 the Metrodome then home of the Minnesota Vikings and Twins inflatable Teflon roof collapsed just hours before the Vikings would host the New York football Giants. The game was moved to Ford Field in Detroit and played on Monday instead of Sunday.
The Metrodome’s roof had collapsed before 2010 too. In the 1980s, the first years of the Metrodome the roof was damaged and deflated.
On November 19, 1981, a rapid accumulation of over a foot of snow caused the roof to collapse, requiring it to be re-inflated.
It deflated the following winter on December 30, 1982, again because of a tear caused by heavy snow. This was four days before the Vikings played the Dallas Cowboys in the last regular-season game of the 1982 NFL season.
In the spring following that same winter, on April 14, 1983, the Metrodome roof deflated because of a tear caused by a late-season heavy snow, and the scheduled Twins' game with the California Angels was postponed.
On April 26, 1986, the Metrodome roof suffered a slight tear because of high winds, causing a nine-minute delay in the bottom of the seventh inning versus the Angels; however the roof did not deflate.
Other events to be cancelled or delayed because of weather related issues were the 1976 Daytona 500, it was called after 102 laps, making it the shortest official Indianapolis 500 in history.
The Daytona 500 would be hit again with rain in 2012, but this time postponing the race for the first time ever, 30 hours from Sunday afternoon to Monday night.
At the Formula One's 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix, a rainstorm was predicted to hit the half of the race, of 56 laps; however, at the start of the race the weather was sunny with large black clouds in the distance.
By lap 19 it began to rain as some drivers entered pit road for wet tires as the rain was falling hard. By lap 28, the rain was torrential to the point officials called a caution, deploying the Safety Car, but still several cars were out due to spins or crash.
The rain became worse and the race was red-flagged on lap 33. Once the rain had ceased, it was deemed too late and dark to continue and the race was stopped. Some drivers and spectators protested the race organizer's decision but no action was taken.
The 2009 season was the first year that the FIA started the Asia and Australia races as late-afternoon starts where the sun would be setting during the race finish in order to maximize European television broadcasts.
The 2009 Petit Le Mans in Braselton, Georgia, was an example of a rainout under the FIA Code, where only three completed laps are needed for an official race and less than half the race (184 of 394 laps).
The red flag waved after 184 laps at the 4:52 point of the race. In endurance racing, the clock does not stop for red flags. IMSA waited until 8 PM to declare the race official.
While the race was 13 laps from official (500 miles), the clock had passed the five-hour mark when the race was called at 8 PM.
In the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix of Formula One, rain before the race wet the circuit. 30 minutes into the race, a heavy rainstorm hit the circuit and the race was red-flagged, the rain didn't stop and the event was delayed for more than 2 hours, the race was finished for its 70 laps and was the longest race in Formula One history.
To prevent a repeat, FIA rules were changed so that a four-hour race clock starts when the cars start their warm-up lap. The clock will not be stopped for any situation, effectively ending a race four hours after cars roll off—regardless of how far the race has finished.