What happens to the event will be up to the event volunteers/planning committee (in concert with FIRST staff).
Speaking purely historically, events in the past have adjusted schedules for safety reasons. If the weather is supposed to be bad in the evening, then ending early is reasonable. Starting late is also feasible. This will depend on the specific forecast for that region. Cutting matches or even canceling the event may be considered depending on severity or longevity of the weather event.
But again, ultimately the decision will be made by the on-site committee and FIRST staff
Usually, the decision for local delays affecting events (vs teams) seems to fall on the regional planning committees or districts as appropriate. They are familiar with the local weather and are more likely to understand how well a region can deal with it. (E.g. 5 inches of snow in Buffalo NY, no problem! 5 inches of snow in Kenner LA - delay or cancel the event!) u
For weather and similar events affecting teams, FIRST has usually been pretty liberal in allowing delays, though they are usually granted on a case-by-case basis, rather than being for everyone in a certain list of states or counties. For example, in 2016, Southeast Louisiana had a storm coming the day before bag, and the school actually closed for Monday, and was not expected to be open Tuesday. We expected to be allowed an exception, but we realized that we could get the robot bagged two or three hours before the weather got hazardous, and we weren’t going to get anything else done anyway, so we had a skeleton crew of 18+ and those with a parent mentor who was present make a few last minute parts and bagged early. As we expected, FIRST allowed exceptions, but we were happy not to have to ask for it (and get about 2 more hours work in than if we had stayed home and hoped).
It depends on the situation. We got 22" of snow in the middle of the WPI Regional one year. We delayed the start of that day, but had to proceed otherwise as we had international teams and many others in hotels and there was no other option.
I’d say you are unlikely to see any sort of cancellation, but rather a delayed start for people to safely arrive, and then condensing of things like lunch breaks and ceremonies, or pushing more of the event to day 2 where there tends to be more wiggle room on time.
The key is always that no matter what the event decides, the safety of the team is the responsibility of the team, and they should only travel/attend if they feel it is reasonable and safe to do so.
It’s generally handled on a case by case basis. Two I’m familiar with:
In 2018, a snow and ice storm hit right before the Hatboro-Horsham (week 1) event, causing travel hazards and taking out power to the school hosting the event. We still did our normal load-in on Friday, got inspected, etc., except the only power was provided by generators. The next morning, the event was canceled, with an eventual rescheduling to week 5.
Last year, Mount Olive (week 2) had a disrupted schedule due to snow forecasted to hit midday on Saturday. I was there until 11:45 on Friday night to get teams through inspection, because we opened pits at 7 AM on Saturday, played 13 matches, and went home around the time we’d usually be starting opening ceremonies. The next day, we opened pits at 7 AM again, and managed to squeeze in the other 61 qualifying matches before playoffs. I don’t think any volunteers from that weekend were more than minimally conscious the next day.
Just to add a bit more to this, FIRST was very accommodating to teams that could not make the rescheduled Hatboro event. Week 5 that year also ended up being Easter weekend, which made it very difficult, especially for Catholic schools. These teams were given preference for being added to other events in the earlier weeks. Was handled well imo.
Most of the other folks have covered the important stuff, but I will point out contracts with the venue can also be an issue. Frequently there is no wiggle room without incurring serious costs for running over time or changing dates. This is one of the reasons why finals have had so many problems over the years with teams being rushed back onto the field.
One year FLR got something like 16" of snow from Friday evening through the next morning and they carried on as if it wasn’t a general weather emergency with a declared and official travel ban. We had to last-minute book hotels (which required board approval) and our very generous sponsor picked up the tab (else we wouldn’t have been able to come back on Saturday.)
I understand that several FiM events stopped around 4pm and sent everyone home due to winter storms yesterday (Friday). We played until after 8pm and finished 60 quals at Calvin University because the weather wasn’t bad in Grand Rapids, just a few inches. Much worse in Jackson, Milford, and Kettering is what I heard.
Checking TBA I see that Escanaba got in 54 quals. Bad weather has a different meaning that far north, I guess.
I’ve been to four events that had snow/ice emergencies.
2008 FLR: 16 inches fell and it was decided to run extra matches so the event could start later the next day so teams had time to come to the event.
Dallas 2015: Basically flurries. Several teams left the event (as in went home and did not come back) and the event shut down early on Friday (Dallas itself pretty much shut down).
2018 Utica: Eight inches of snow fell the night before the event. There was no weather related delay or action taken. There was a fire alarm that sent event attendees out into the snow. That was fun.
MSC but I forgot what year had an ice storm. They gave out awards earlier so teams could leave earlier on Saturday. The delay saved me from driving south through a tornado outbreak from the same storm.