Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Storm Ciara: Five Times Sport Clashed With Mother Nature

Posted on 9 February 2020 by Alex Bartlett

Storm Ciara has devastated sports fixtures up and down the country, with its winds whipping up a frenzy.

Matches varying from the Premier league, the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Six Nations were cancelled Sunday due to the carnage and this is by no means the first time Mother Nature has wrecked havoc on the sporting calendar.

We take a look at five times sports teams and schedules were affected by events outside of their control. Yes, cricket is excluded for its regular disruptions.

1.1989 World Series Game 3

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Those geographers amongst us will know that the city of San Francisco lies on a fault line known as the San Andreas Fault.

On October 17 1989 the San Francisco Giants were preparing to host the Oakland Athletics at the infamous Candlestick Park in a must-win game, having lost the opening two games of the series.

However, around half an hour before the game was due to start the superbly named Loma Prieta earthquake struck the city causing havoc, bringing down freeways and lighting fires across the city.

Thankfully there was much less traffic than could usually be expected at this time of day as people were getting ready to watch the big game.

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Due to damage at Candlestick Park the game would not be played until 10 days later and the A’s won both games 3 and 4 in San Francisco to win the series in a whitewash.

However, it was not all bad news for the city that year as the 49ers won their fourth Super Bowl. They were also affected by the quake having to play their Sunday game that week at Stanford Stadium.

2. Typhoon Hagibis and the 2019 Rugby World Cup

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A more recent incident now. Cast your minds back to last October. The first few weeks of the Rugby World Cup had been a slow burner, but after hosts Japan shocked Ireland the tournament came to life.

Ahead of the final group matches their was plenty to play for and then we all learned a lot about Typhoons and specifically Typhoon Hagibis.

The winds and storms caused large scale flooding and landslides across the country and threatened to spoil the game of the pool stages, a win or go home clash between Japan and Scotland.

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That game inevitably went ahead, however several others didn’t including England vs France and New Zealand vs Italy.

This denied Italian legend Sergio Parisse a shot at qualification in his farewell World Cup and France a chance to top their pool.

However, it did have its benefits for some, England playing on an extra weeks rest than their opponents Australia, were able to stick it to the arch enemy in the Quarter-Final winning 40-16.

3. Hurricane Katrina and the 2005 New Orleans Saints

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Back to the states for number 3, and while this did not cause any specific sports events to be cancelled it did severely impact the team involved.

On August 29 2005, a week before the start of the NFL regular season, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and the people were forced to camp out in the Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints.

Despite its part in keeping people safe, the Superdome was badly damaged and the Saints did not play at home for the whole 2005 season.

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The team played their home games at various venues including Giants stadium in New York, Tiger Stadium in Baton-Rouge and the Alamodome in San-Antonio.

The Saints reopened the Superdome on a Monday Night in front of a national audience against their division rival Atlanta Falcons, and a blocked punt from now ALS sufferer Steve Gleason sent the place into pandemonium.

The Superdome has since hosted Super Bowl XLVII where a power cut led to a 45 minute delay.


4. Volcanic Eruption and the 2010 Champions League Semi-Final

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2010 now. Maybe this was a case of when the schedule should have been changed due to nature. As Barcelona were preparing to travel to Milan for the Champions league Semi Final against Internazionale disaster struck in the form of Eyjafjallajokull.

The Icelandic volcano erupted causing a cloud of smoke to travel across Europe grounding flights throughout the continent.

The volcano caused havoc for families and workers alike but one of the worst hit groups were the defending European Champions who had to take a 600 mile bus trip ahead of the Semi-Final first leg.

The Catalans lost 3-1 and were unable to overcome the deficit at the Camp Nou losing 3-2 on aggregate.

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Pep Guardiola’s side went onto bounce back and win in 2011 but had Eyjafjallajokull not had its say we may have seen what many deem the greatest footballing side ever win three straight Champions League titles.

5. Snow causes roof of Metrodome to collapse, 2010.

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And finally, perhaps one of my favourite occurrences. Snow causing the roof of the Herbert. H. Humphrey Metrodome to collapse.

On 10-11 December 2010 the city of Minnesota suffered a severe winter storm with over 17 in (43 cm) of snow accumulation, and the roof at the home of the Vikings, otherwise known as Mall of America Field, caved in on 12 December.

Luckily for us viewers cameras were on hand to capture the remarkable scenes in this CBS report from the time.

The Vikings Monday Night game against the New York Giants was moved to Detroit’s Ford Field and they played out there remaining home schedule at TCF Bank stadium an outdoor stadium in the city of Minnesota.

The roof was a bubble made out of teflon and fibreglass, weighing approximately 340 tonnes and collapsed five times since 1980.

This led to the Vikings building their new home the impressive U.S. Bank Stadium which opened in 2016 and hosted Super Bowl LII.