State Weather Policies > 2024/2025 Virginia Weather Policies

Virginia State Weather Policies for VHSL Schools (2024/2025)

Heat Stress Policy and Activity Recommendations

What are the VHSL Heat Stress Activity Guidelines for 2024/2025?

WBGT Recommended Activity Guidelines

WBGT Activity Guidelines

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) notes that Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is the gold standard for taking heat measurements; however, it is not mandatory. The following Wet Bulb Globe Temperature guidelines are based on recommendations by the VHSL: 

  • WBGT readings must be taken at the place of practice/event. Readings must be taken 30 mins prior to the activity.
  • While WBGT is the preferred standard of measurement, the Heat index can be used as a alternative in the absence of WBGT monitoring equipment.
  • While the specific mechanism utilized at the local school level will be determined by local policy and resources, the VHSL SMAC strongly encourages schools to utilize WBGT.
  • Increase frequency and duration of water and rest breaks as well as modify the total amount of time engaged in practice
  • Water should always be available and athletes be able to take in as much water as they desire.
Virginia WBGT Zones and Heat Acclimatization

Virginia WBGT Zone

Virginia is a Class 3 zone state. Here’s what the VHSL has recommended:

  • Coaches must provide unlimited access to water throughout practice. Rest breaks should focus on rehydration and rest only, with no activity.
  • Educate athletes on how dehydration affects physical performance and that they should enter each practice session or game well hydrated with a focus on maintaining hydration.
  • Have towels with ice for cooling of athletes as needed. Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

How Can Perry Weather Help?

WBGT Monitoring System

Precise on-site WBGT monitoring

For athletic trainers and directors prioritizing athlete safety, Perry Weather offers precise on-site wet bulb globe temperature monitoring.

 

Guide your coaches and staff in taking the right actions with hyper-local WBGT monitoring and alerts tailored to your heat stress policies.

  • Accurate WBGT offers a more precise understanding of real-world conditions than heat index, ensuring safety and informed decision-making for all outdoor activities.
  • Automatic WBGT measurements are instantly recorded and stored, ensuring you stay compliant without the tediousness and potential errors of traditional manual methods.
  • We translate data into practical steps based on heat stress policies and local regulations – from hydration reminders to activity adjustments, we ensure safety first.
Automated Mobile Alerts

Automated heat stress policy based alerts

Automatic instructive alerts and warnings are triggered based on your policies, keeping you compliant and confident in your decision-making so everyone on your staff knows what to do when WBGT levels are high.

  • Automated Warnings: Push notifications and text message alerts with automatic action instructions once WBGT threshold is breached
  • Custom Quiet Times: Pause notifications during weekends or nighttime, ensuring disturbance-free periods for when practices and games aren’t taking place
  • Configurable Settings: Configure specific user and warnings settings that fit your organization’s needs
Proactive Heat Stress Updates

Predictive Heat Stress Warnings

Get heat and WBGT risk updates based on your policies, so you’re not caught by surprise and are able to adjust outdoor activities accordingly.

  • Set customized alerts to be notified when WBGT levels reach critical thresholds, ensuring timely action to protect athletes from heat-related illnesses.
  • Our team stays up-to-date on evolving state regulations to help schools and athletic trainers implement heat stress guidelines effectively.

Heat Stress & WBGT FAQs

What is Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT)?

The WBGT is a comprehensive measure that combines air temperature, relative humidity, radiant heat, and air movement to assess heat stress conditions. Read more about WBGT here.

What is the difference between the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature and the Heat Index?

Wet bulb globe temperature in a nutshell is a more in-depth heat stress measurement taking into account more of the environment (Direct sunlight, water vapor capacity, cloud coverage, etc.). Read more about the differences between WBGT and the heat index here.

How does WBGT impact athletes?

Monitoring WBGT is essential for protecting athletes’ health and safety during outdoor practices, games, and events.

A higher WBGT reading leads to a greater risk of heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and muscle cramps.

 

 

What is Heat Acclimatization?

Heat acclimatization is your body’s way of adapting to hot environments.

By gradually increasing your workload or exposure time in hot conditions over 1-2 weeks, you can significantly improve your heat tolerance.

This reduces the risk of heat stress and allows you to perform better in hot weather.

What is a Heat Illness?

There are two main ways heat illness can strike:
1. Classic Heat Illness: This is caused by your environment’s impact on your body’s ability to cool down. Think high temperatures, humidity, direct sun, and no breeze.
2. Exertional Heat Illness (EHI): This one focuses on your own internal heat production. It can happen even in mild weather if you push yourself too hard.

What is Exertional Heat Stroke?

Exertional heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is a medical emergency. It occurs when your body overheats (usually above 104°F or 40°C) and can no longer cool itself down. This is often caused by strenuous physical activity in hot and humid conditions.

What is the science behind WBGT?

Wet bulb globe temperature involves measuring three temperatures: dry bulb, wet bulb, and globe. Read more here.

What is the difference between Heat Stress and Heat Illness?

Imagine heat stress as a warning light on your body’s dashboard. If heat stress isn’t addressed, it can progress to heat illness. This is a medical emergency where the body can no longer cool itself down effectively. It can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Read more here.

How can I measure the WBGT? What is the best way to measure the wet bulb globe temperature?

To measure WBGT, use a scientifically approved WBGT meter. The best way to measure it is by using Perry Weather’s advanced weather monitoring platform.

Lightning Policy Guidelines

Lightning Recommendations

The following guidelines are based on recommendations by the Virginia High School League:

  • Assign staff to monitor local weather conditions before and during practices and contests.
  • Develop an evacuation plan, including identification of appropriate nearby safer areas and determine the amount of time needed to get everyone to a designated safer area.
  • When thunder is heard or lightning is seen*, the leading edge of the thunderstorm is close enough to strike your location with lightning. Suspend play for at least 30 minutes and vacate the outdoor activity to the previously designated safer location immediately.
  • Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder is heard or lightning is witnessed* prior to resuming play.
  • Any subsequent thunder or lightning* after the beginning of the 30-minute count will reset the clock and another 30-minute count should begin.
  • Review the lightning safety policy annually with all administrators, coaches, and game personnel and train all personnel.
  • Inform student-athletes and their parents of the lightning policy at start of the season.

How Can Perry Weather Help?

Lightning Alerts & Safety

Instantly Tailor Alerts to Your Lightning Safety Policies

Perry Weather’s lightning detection and alerts system gives you clear, actionable instructions aligned with your lightning safety policies.

  • We’ll notify you as soon as lightning is detected with automated alerts. We guide you through immediate actions, keeping your athletes safe and practices on track.
  • Automatic alerts and real-time data for informed decision-making during critical weather events.
Lightning Countdown Timer

Know When It’s Safe to Resume Activities

Know exactly when it’s safe to step out after a lightning strike with Perry Weather’s lightning countdown timers.

  • When a lightning strike is detected nearby, Perry Weather initiates a countdown until given the all-clear and resuming outdoor activities.
  • The timer resets with each subsequent strike, ensuring adherence to lightning safety protocols before resuming activities
  • Stay a step ahead with advanced radar and predictive lightning risk management for confident event planning and adaptive scheduling.
Integrated Outdoor Warnings and Siren

Outdoor Warning System

Get custom PA alerts and audible alarms with our lightning warning system.

  • Instantly broadcast alerts and safety messages automatically across your campus – no matter the weather conditions.
  • Strobe lights, loud alarms, and text-to-speech make sure you won’t miss lightning alerts.
  • It works even during power outages, ensuring continuous safety without needing a direct power source.

Lightning FAQs

What do I do if lightning strikes?

  • Activate local Emergency Management Service.
  • If necessary, carefully move the victim to a safer location.
  • Assess airway, breathing, and circulation; initiate CPR if needed.
  • Check for and treat hypothermia, shock, fractures, and burns.

What do I NOT do if lightning strikes?

  • Do not shower, bathe, or use landline phones inside a safe shelter (cell phones are OK).
  • Avoid being the highest point in an open field, or near the tallest object.
  • Stay away from any open water.
  • Do not seek shelter under or near trees, flagpoles, or light poles.
  • Do not lie flat on the ground.

What is a Safe Shelter?

A safe shelter is any frequently inhabited building with four solid walls (not a dugout), electrical and telephone wiring, and plumbing, which aid in grounding the structure.

Where Do I Go When Lightning Approaches?

  • Designate a safe shelter for each venue.
  • All individuals have the right to leave an athletic site to seek a safe structure if they feel in danger of impending lightning.
  • As a secondary option, a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal roof and completely closed windows provides safety from lightning.
  • Do not touch any part of the vehicle’s metal framework during a thunderstorm.

Can a player who has been struck by lightning be safely touched by others?

Yes. Lightning victims do not carry a residual electrical charge. However, prioritize checking for injuries and call emergency services immediately.

Who is responsible for enforcing lightning safety protocols during practices or games?

Responsibilities may vary, but typically coaches, athletic trainers, and officials share the responsibility for monitoring weather conditions and enforcing safety procedures.

What if there are no readily available shelters nearby?

Some policies allow for designated “safe havens” under sturdy structures like bleachers (away from metal supports) or inside enclosed vehicles with the windows rolled up. However, this is a last resort.

Here’s Why Schools Use Perry Weather to Comply With Weather Policies

Watch how schools across Virginia are using Perry Weather to comply with state weather policies and keep their campuses safe.

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