From River Falls, Wisconsin
In the 19 years that the Chiefs have been coming north for training camp the best weather conditions have come this year, their final summer in the northwoods.
Until Wednesday afternoon, that is.
Heavy thunderstorms, including a big, dark wall cloud rolled up from the south and dropped a large amount of rain on the UW-River Falls campus starting at lunch time. A tornado warning right around 2:50 p.m. CDT ended the team’s meetings in the University Center and players and staff were sent to stairwells and enclosed rooms.
The all-clear came about 10 minutes later as the fast moving storm cleared the campus. The players and coaches however, remained in the building waiting for a more definitive statement that it was OK to head outside. At 3:40 p.m. they were still waiting for that word. Head coach Todd Haley was working the phones, trying to get some official word that the storm was over.
Winds remained high, but the only damage appeared to be a few bicycles knocked over and tree limbs down. There was some minor street flooding on campus.
The foul weather was expected to clear River Falls by 4:30 p.m. That just happens to be when the Chiefs second practice of the day is scheduled. It’s hard to believe Haley will take his team outside on fields that have been hit with more than a half-inch of rain, but they worked in the rain earlier in camp. It just wasn’t a storm with as much water as what’s gone down Wednesday afternoon.
Haley said he would wait to get weather and field reports before making a decision on the afternoon practice.
UPDATE @ 3:49 p.m. – Haley has moved practice indoors to the Knowles Building which is not designed or laid out for indoor football. Essentially, it will be a walkthrough practice.
UPDATE @ 4:15 p.m. – Tornado sires sounding throughout River Falls as another group of fast-moving black clouds is coming from the south and heading towards the northeast. The Chiefs are all inside the Knowles Building getting ready for practice.