After Tornado Delay, Evacuation at Soldier Field; Chicago Bears – Baltimore Ravens Game Resumes


Sunday’s Bears game against the Ravens was delayed with 4:51 left in the first quarter by a threat of a tornado or tornadoes and severe weather. At about 11:30 a.m. a tornado touched down in Washington, Illinois was determined to have a path directly toward Chicago — and possibly Soldier Field. Washington, Illinois is about 122 miles southwest of Chicago, and early Sunday tornadoes were forecast to have the capability of staying on the ground for long tracks or paths.

Alert from Chicago Bears that the game has been suspended.

The earliest that the Bears and Ravens players would have returned to the field was reported to be 2:15 p.m. CST, and there will be a 10-minute warmup period before the game resumes. The game resumed at 2:27 PM.

Thunderstorms approached the stadium and fans were warned about a possible evacuation to the concourse with about 10 minutes left in the first quarter and were eventually told to leave their seats after the Ravens kicked a field goal with 4:51 left in the first quarter. The storms that caused the game delay were thunderstorms that passed directly over Soldier Field, and the proximity of the storm with the history of at least one destructive tornado. The tornado is reported to have destroyed much of Washington, Illinois, and heavily damaged Coal City — a little closer to Chicago.

Tornado photo from Roanoke, Illinois — just northeast of Washington, Illinois, as it was headed northeast toward Chicago.

The evacuation to the concourse was announced at 12:31 p.m. CT., and 12:54 p.m., fans in the upper deck were still heading down to get to the concourse. Clogged aisles slowed the evacuation. Strong wind and lightning was visible as fans stood in the upper deck. By about 1:20, the entire upper deck was finally cleared.

The Bears were losing 10-0 to the Ravens at the time of the delay.

Chicago Bears VP John Bostrom conferred with stadium officials, referees, and weather sources as the ultimate responsibility to delay the game was decided by referees.

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The longest quarter in NFL history.

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