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Game day operations run smoothly despite storm

Sara Felsenstein | Monday, October 31, 2011

For the second time this season, intense storms changed the course of game day activities.

But this time, Saturday’s severe weather was brief and almost completely unpredicted.

Mike Seamon, director of Game Day Operations and associate vice president of Campus Safety, said officials had been tracking the weather going into the weekend and that all information pointed to “cool and clear” until about 10:30 a.m. on game day.

“[It] kind of popped out of nowhere, was intense [and] short in duration,” Seamon said. “As quickly as it came, it left.”

He said Notre Dame issued the first campus-wide announcement of the day around noon, warning people that a storm was approaching and advising them to find shelter.

“About 12:30 p.m. or so [the storm] hit campus and covered the ground in hail and snow and sleet,” Seamon said. “People who were tailgating had to seek shelter. It was really, really unusual.”

The storm passed campus by 1 p.m., Seamon said, and the University issued an all-clear message over the loudspeakers at 1:10 p.m.

He said soon after the announcement, fans resumed tailgating, and the sky was clear for the rest of the day during the Notre Dame victory over Navy.

Phil Johnson, director of Notre Dame Security Police, said police made only one arrest inside Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday.

Outside the stadium, police issued four citations for underage drinking. One man was transported by ambulance to the hospital, and his case has been forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for public intoxication and disorderly conduct, Johnson said.

Despite the brief storms Saturday, Seamon said the Game Day weekend was a success overall.

“It was a really good weekend, minus the little weather incident we had,” he said. “Everything worked really well. It was a great victory.”

Seamon said 8,000 people attended the pep rally Friday. Over 3,300 visitors walked through the tunnel, and 1,000 attended the football luncheon. The LaBar practice field had 1,035 visitors on game day.

“[There was] a lot of excitement [with the] Halloween weekend and home game. People were ready to go, which I thought (was) great,” Seamon said.

Seamon said that as usual, Notre Dame fans showed great support for the team and a high level of respect for Navy.

“I thought it was a great atmosphere. There was a lot of respect for the rivalry with Navy,” Seamon said. “People were fired up to get back to winning.”