Will Notre Dame still play?

South Bend Tribune Report
ND Insider

UPDATED at 3:30 P.M. Saturday

SOUTH BEND — Anyone who traveled to South Carolina for Notre Dame football's prime-time matchup against Clemson better have packed an umbrella and a change of clothes. Maybe even a wetsuit.

National Weather Service offices are calling it a "life-threatening event" with "catastrophic damage possible."

As of 3:30 p.m. Saturday, rain was continuing in Clemson, S.C.

The latest National Weather Service forecast for the Clemson area through the rest of the day is calling for continued rain, heavy at times, with patchy fog and a high near 62.  It will remain windy, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

For this evening, the NWS forecast for that area calls for rain before 10 p.m., then showers afterwards.  The rain could be heavy at times, with patchy fog and a low around 61.

Northeast winds are expected to be about 18 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.

The chance of precipitation during the game is 100 percent, according to NWS. New precipitation amounts between 3 and 4 inches possible.

Matt Rudkin, a meteorologist with WSBT-TV, said rainfall totals in excess of 5 inches are expected with some areas expecting more than a foot of rain.

The weather service office in South Carolina said the Clemson area is expected to see nearly 8.5 inches of rain total this weekend.

"To put this event into perspective...if this were snowfall, around 110 inches of snow would accumulate in three days," Rudkin said. "This is an incredible amount of moisture."

Despite the dire warnings, officials from Notre Dame and the Atlantic Coast Conference have said the game is on as scheduled with no changes in time, date or venue. 

So what's causing all the rain? It's not directly a result of powerful Hurricane Joaquin. The latest forecasts from the National Hurricane Center project the storm's center to remain offshore. However, a strong low pressure system is tapping into hurricane's strong moisture plume.

"Flash flooding is the No. 1 killer of all weather phenomena," Rudkin said. "It kills more than tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, etc. It only takes 12 inches of standing water to move a vehicle and 6 inches of water to sweep someone off of their feet."

As for other preparations, the Northern Indiana chapter of the American Red Cross has volunteers on standby in case their services are needed along the east coast. Officials said as of Friday afternoon, no one from the region has been deployed.

In addition, more than three dozen U.S. Air Force jets are being moved to Indiana's Grissom Air Reserve Base. According to an Associated Press report, 34 F-22 and eight T-38 jets are being transferred from Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia to ride out the storm.

Notre Dame fans heading to South Carolina to watch the Irish take on Clemson better be prepared for what could be record-breaking rainfall. SBT File Photo/JAMES BROSHER