UPDATE AS OF 6:42 p.m.:
Hard to see many signs of hope for the weather conditions in central and eastern Nebraska tonight.
National Weather Service meteorologists are monitoring the weather system’s potential for damaging winds and large hail from about Kearney to Omaha and Auburn to Columbus.
The worst of the front is still expected to hit the Lincoln area between 8 and 9 p.m., Meterologist Brian Smith in the weather service’s Valley office says.
Omaha is expected to see the most severe bands around 10 p.m., possibly sooner. Some of the storms will stretch as far east as the edge of the Des Moines metro area.
Meteorologists expect the front to park over eastern Nebraska and send wave after wave of thunderstorms across the Interstate 80 corridor between Lincoln and Omaha from midnight into the early morning hours.
So if the game is played, the drive home for any fans headed east could be eventful. — Aaron Sanderford and Susan Szalewski
UPDATE AS OF 1:00 p.m.: The forecast is not looking good for tonight’s Husker game, Van DeWald, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Valley, said Saturday.
A cold front heading across the area could stall right above Lincoln, he said.
And with it, it’d not just bring rain, thunder and lightning but severe weather, including heavy wind and hail, he said.
There is a 50 to 60 percent chance of rain at kickoff and that probability goes up as the game goes on.
If the severe showers do happen, they’ll probably begin around 8 or 9 p.m. in Lincoln and reach Omaha about an hour later, DeWald said.
“If you like rain it’s looking great,” he said. “But if you’re trying to watch a football game, it’s not looking great.”
If you just like tailgating, you might be OK, he said — the chance of rain is only about 40 percent at 4 p.m. and temperatures are expected to reach the mid-80s before the storm begins. — Roseann Moring
Husker Nation is in for a soaking. Not the scoreboard kind (Nebraska is the 26-point favorite over Akron). But the kind that an unstable atmosphere parked over Interstate 80 and pointed at the capital city could deliver right at game time.
Picture dark storm clouds and lightning over Memorial Stadium. Picture rain.
The state of Nebraska might set its watch to the Cornhuskers’ season opener in Lincoln. Not Ma Nature.
By Friday afternoon, a National Weather Service meteorologist was saying things like: “it sure doesn’t look good,” and “it looks like a bad situation” and worst of all, “several rounds of lightning around Memorial Stadium.”
Keith Mann, a Nebraska athletic department spokesman, said the game is so far set to proceed on schedule. He said the Huskers’ event management team is in regular communication with the National Weather Service.
Under NCAA guidelines, any lightning strike within 8 miles would result in a 30-minute delay. He said the university will communicate delays or changes using the stadium public address system, the Husker Sports Network, social media and the Husker app.
Scott Dergan, a meteorologist based at the Valley office of the National Weather Service, does not want you to sell your tickets. Nor does he want you to cancel plans to see Husker coach Scott Frost’s debut.
He does want you to pack a poncho, treat the “August-y” — his word — weather as if it were winter and plan accordingly. Head to the stadium early. Plan contingencies. And know that you could be hitting the road way sooner or way later than you might think.
And with weather, there’s always an asterisk: Ma Nature is fickle.
“Things could change,” Dergan said Friday. “Maybe this front settles south of the area or a little north.”
“I wouldn’t cancel anything just yet,” he added.
Husker football isn’t the only party that’s going to get rained on. Eastern Nebraska could be in for days of on-and-off thunderstorms and rain. This could mean soccer game cancellations and holiday parties moved indoors. But it’s hard to pin down times, Dergan said.
“It’s going to be determined on a day-to-day basis here,” he said. “We already talked about Saturday night. That’s bad. Sunday afternoon will be an event. That’s not good. Monday, we may have a break for a little while during the day. And certainly Monday night into Tuesday looks pretty wet. Wednesday looks pretty wet. Right on through the week. Friday, it looks like about the last good chance of thunderstorms. And then next weekend doesn’t look half bad.”
Which is promising. Maybe the sun will shine over Memorial Stadium when Nebraska takes on Colorado at home on Sept. 8. And the only rain cloud, nature willing, will be the one over the Buffaloes.