Severe Thunderstorms Delay Copa America Match

Before they won the Copa America, Chile’s football team had to dodge severe weather while playing Colombia in the semi-finals at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

An extremely high frequency of lightning forced players and fans to take cover just after 8pm Central Time. Earth Networks Total Lightning Network™ (ENTLN) detected approximately 157,880 total lightning strikes during a 12-hour period including the time of the game. The below video shows the in-cloud (purple) and cloud-to-ground (yellow) lightning strikes moving southeast through Chicago.

Approximately 50,000 people were in the stadium for the soccer match, WBBM-TV, CBS2 Chicago’s Lauren Victory reported. For over an hour and a half, Soldier Field asked fans to seek shelter in the field’s lower level.

Prior to and during the storm, Earth Networks issued over 200 Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts (DTA’s) in the Chicago area. DTA’s (represented by the purple polygons in the video below) are a critical tool that utilize Earth Networks’ unique detection of in-cloud lightning to predict severe weather conditions like microbursts, heavy rain and hail. These alerts are used to warn people, businesses, schools and governments of approaching dangerous weather conditions so that proper safety measures can be observed.

A tornado watch was in effect for the Chicago area during the evening hours on 22 June 2016. The National Weather Service confirmed that tornado touched down east of Amboy in Lee County, Illinois while dozens of funnel cloud reports were reported throughout LaSalle County, Illinois. Luckily, no tornadoes touched down on Soldier Field. The below image shows the lightning strikes directly surrounding the stadium.

soilder field

While there were no tornadoes or injuries at the match, heavy rains flooded the field and stadium; turning the stadium stairways into waterfalls. Hail as large as 2.5 inches was also reported as well as gusts of wind up to 50 mph. After the nearly two hour delay, Chile won the match 2-0 and moved on to beat Argentina in a shoot out to win the final.