URGENT: Ravens severe weather advisory - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

URGENT: Ravens severe weather advisory

The National Weather Service has issued a severe weather alert for the Midwest that includes today’s Ravens-Bears game at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

The NWS has issued a tornado watch that extends until 5 pm ET and includes almost the entire state of Illinois, as well as parts of surrounding states including Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri and Michigan.

Winds approaching 80 mph and half-inch hail have already been reported in Dane County, Wisc.

The Bears and NFL are closely monitoring the situation for today’s game, which kicks off at 1 pm ET. Soldier Field holds approximately 65,000 fans.

Bears spokesman Tim Lefevour appeared on the Weather Channel Sunday morning and said that “safety of our fans is our No. 1 priority.” There will be several messages displayed on video boards and TV monitors around the stadium telling fans various options they have in the event severe weather breaks out.

Lefevour said it would take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to clear the stands of fans, with a number of areas of shelter, including under the stands, tunnels, stairways and parking garages.

Lefevour said that only one prior game has ever been adversely affected by weather, that coming at Soldier Field several years ago in a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. Weather was so severe that the NFL cancelled that game and it was played the following day.

About the author

Jerry Bonkowski

Jerry Bonkowski has covered pro and college sports for nearly 40 years. His career has included lengthy stops as a sports writer for USA Today (15 years), ESPN.com (3 1/2 years) and Yahoo Sports (4 1/2 years). He was part of the regular NFL team at USA Today, covered the Chicago Bulls' six championship seasons in the 1990s, and also provided extensive motorsports coverage of NASCAR, CART (now defunct), the Indy Racing League (now IndyCar) and the National Hot Rod Association. He also served as back-up NHL writer, wrote extensively about Major League Baseball and specialized in compelling human interest features. He has won numerous awards for his writings from organizations including The Associated Press and the National Motorsports Press Association. His first book, "Trading Paint: 101 Great NASCAR Debates", was published in 2010 and continues to sell in print and e-book formats including iTunes, Amazon and Wiley.com (Wiley & Sons Publishers). He also has considerable radio experience, including serving as an on-air personality since 2002 to the present time for SiriusXM Radio. Jerry's specialities range from motorsports to the NFL and everything in-between. As a columnist, he delivers fact-based pieces peppered with objective analysis, criticism (where warranted) and praise (also where warranted). Contact the author.

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