Because of lightning and severe weather, football fans were asked twice to evacuate TCF Bank Stadium Saturday night during the Minnesota Vikings game against the Oakland Raiders. After two delays, the team expected to finish the game.

A tornado watch, in effect for the Twin Cities and elsewhere for much of Saturday afternoon and early evening, was canceled before its 11 p.m. expiration time. 

The National Weather Service in the Twin Cities continued to monitor nonsevere thunderstorms across the area, especially in northeastern Minnesota and in northwestern Wisconsin. 

At TCF Bank Stadium, officials asked tailgaters to secure tents, flags and other gear. The Williams, Mariucci and Ridder arenas were designated as storm shelter locations.

An enhanced risk was declared for areas ranging as far north as Brainerd and as far south as the Iowa border. Winds of up to 75 miles per hour and baseball-sized hail are possible in those areas, along with the threat of tornadoes.

The lightning-packed storms played havoc with Saturday’s high school football games. At least two games were called and deemed final before the end of regulation time. The leading teams were declared winners.

At Cooper High School in New Hope, the game was called in the third quarter with Cooper leading Bloomington Jefferson 40-0. At Mounds View, the Mustangs led Farmington 28-7 when the game was called with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter.

A scheduled 7 p.m. game between Breck and Providence Academy was canceled. Plymouth-based Providence posted via Twitter that “the safety of our players, families and fans, and those of The Breck School are the top priority.”

A scheduled 4 p.m. game between Brooklyn Center and Fridley was halted in the second quarter with home team Fridley leading 13-0. Officials said the game will resume play at 6 p.m. Monday at Fridley High School.

The weather service in Duluth put out a small craft advisory and expected gusty winds to flow over western Lake Superior, whipping up waves up to 6 feet along the North Shore tonight. Winds were forecast to remain strong through late Monday.

For western Minnesota, the weather service in Grand Forks, N.D., said a high wind advisory would continue until 4 p.m. Sunday, forecasting gusts of up to 55 mph in the Red River Valley.

STAFF REPORTS