By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The best golfers in the world and their fans will be keeping an eye on the weather in the Twin Cities Thursday.

The inaugural 3M Open starts at 6:50 a.m. Thousands of fans will pour onto the grounds at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine to spend the day outside.

But what’s the plan if there are rain and storms? Be prepared to withstand some rain, because the tournament won’t stop just because of a brief shower. But if a storm is brewing, specifically with lightning, safety for everyone becomes the top priority.

Along the 18th green at the TPC Twin Cities, spectators will be watching some of the best golfers in the world wrap up their rounds at the 3M Open. But it’s likely they will also have their eyes on the sky, as Mother Nature drums up some stormy weather.

“If it’s not raining and there’s no lightning in the area, we’re going to be playing golf,” said on-site meteorologist Wade Stettner said. “We’ll play through rain. It can even be a moderate rain and it could even be a brief heavy downpour. The key there is lightning. If there’s lightning in the area, that’s when we have to shut the event down and bring everybody in.”

If inclement weather approaches, warnings will go up on the leaderboards. You are also advised to avoid isolated trees, open areas, golf carts and high places.

“And that’s kind of your cue if you’re on the far reaches of the golf course to kind of make your way back to the centralized areas or where your exit would be,” Stettner said.

Spectators will then be shuttled to their vehicles for safety.

“It could be a very long walk, especially with as many thousands of people,” said spectator Ed Herman.

You can also plan ahead by having a weather app on your phone.

Umbrellas are allowed, however the sleeve that covers them is not. So make sure you’re ready for the long haul, weather permitting.

“We have the longest days of the year right now so there’s plenty of daylight. If we do have a delay, we’ll get back out there and we’ll play until sunset if we have to,” Stettner said.

The inclement weather plan is also listed in the brochure spectators will get once they arrive.

Here is a full list of what items are allowed.

Jeff Wagner