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Stormy season

LA Tech officials to make game decision Tuesday

Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 01:08

Texas A&M’s first game of the season threatens to be postponed as officials look to the Gulf of Mexico, waiting to see whether Tropical Storm Isaac will affect the game against Louisiana Tech scheduled for Thursday evening.

Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Bruce Van De Velde said the university is closely monitoring the storm as it approaches the Louisiana coastline. Van De Velde said the decision on the game will be made Tuesday afternoon.

According to The Associated Press, Isaac, which has already left 24 dead in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, is currently categorized as a tropical storm with winds up to 70 mph. The storm is expected to make landfall as soon as Tuesday night.

John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas state climatologist and A&M atmospheric sciences professor, said Isaac is predicted to be a Category 2 hurricane when it makes landfall on the Louisiana coast as it continues to gather strength. Shreveport, located three-and-a-half hours east of Dallas, is where the season opener for the Aggies is supposed to take place.

“The rain is strong enough to easily be further west and make a direct hit on Shreveport,” said professor of atmospheric sciences John Nielsen-Gammon said. “By the time it makes it to Shreveport it would have been on shore for about 36 hours. It’ll probably be a ‘tropical depression,’
perhaps a weak tropical storm.”

A “tropical depression” is a tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind is 38 mph or less.

Nielsen-Gammon said Shreveport should at least receive heavy rain.

“It’s a fairly broad storm. The rain extends a ways out to the east and there’s going to be a fairly sharp boundary on the west end,” Nielsen-Gammon said. “Probably by Tuesday evening it’d be possible to tell whether Shreveport is going to be within the heavy rain boundary or not.”

Despite the fact the storm could hit Louisiana as a Category 2, though all hurricanes are dangerous, Nielsen-Gammon said Isaac shouldn’t be as destructive as Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Ike.

“This will be the fourth hurricane of the season. In a normal season we only have a couple of hurricanes by the end of August, so we’ve had twice as many than normal,” he said. “This is on pace to be an active season.”

The Texas state climatologist said this activeness is due in part to a continued increase in Atlantic Ocean temperatures, a trend that began in the 1990s.

As of Monday, there were no plans to delay the Texas A&M-Louisiana Tech football game. In the meantime, information regarding Louisiana Tech’s operations or schedules can be found at ert.latech.edu.

Some students who planned to travel to Shreveport have been forced to reconsider whether or not they’re going to the game.

“I think it’s good to respect the weather, especially when it’s gulf coast storms,” said international affairs graduate student Chad Martin. “We learned that lesson with Katrina, and with the storm moving westward it’s definitely good to plan ahead.”

In regards to whether or not the game should be played, Martin said anything short of a hurricane is acceptable football weather.

“If it’s rain, play the game in the rain. I’m all for playing football in rough elements: wind, snow, sleet,” Martin said. “I’d be disappointed if they moved the game just because of heavy rain.”

However, Martin also said postponing the game may give more students the opportunity to attend the game, which was scheduled for Thursday instead of Saturday.

“I wouldn’t mind the game being moved to a Saturday, where it can be accessible to students, definitely more accessible to people who want to road trip,” Martin said.

Nielsen-Gamman said the storm is expected to miss College Station completely.

“Chances are it’ll be a little bit windier than normal, and we might not even see a drop of rain from it,” he said.

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