MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fans heading to the Minnesota Vikings preseason game at TCF Bank Stadium are being urged to prepare for stormy weather.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch Saturday afternoon for many Minnesota counties — including Hennepin — until 11 p.m.

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The University of Minnesota is asking tailgaters to stay aware of the changing weather conditions, and to secure tents, flags and other gear from high winds.

Williams, Mariucci and Ridder arenas will serve as storm shelters if severe weather rolls through.

Still, several fans were braving the weather and tailgating early Saturday evening. A few regulars said the parking lots were sparse compared to years past.

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Ultimately, stadium officials will decide if the weather is a safety concern, and whether to delay the game or even evacuate the stadium all together.

“We know we are going to get rained out, but we’re dedicated to being here to show we are Vikings fans,” Vikings fan Bino Durham said. “We don’t want to be fair weather fans.”

Those at the game are advised to listen for severe weather announcements from the stadium public address and to watch for instructions on the scoreboards. If an evacuation is necessary, areas will be open as storm shelter locations. Fans should also keep their tickets to re-enter the stadium after the storm passes.

Meanwhile, St. Paul Public Schools announced Saturday afternoon that the football game between Johnson and Central high schools is canceled due to the weather threat.

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