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Ravens fans in Chicago weather the storm during lengthy delay

Baltimore Ravens fans who traveled to Chicago for Sunday's game against the Bears spent more than an hour in the sheltered concourse at Soldier Field, but that doesn't mean they stayed dry.

"It was blowing sideways," said Neal Moorhouse, a known diehard fan from Federal Hill who goes by the nickname 'Carne Cabeza,' regarding the storm and tornado warning that caused a delay in the game of nearly two hours. "It was coming into the concourse. It's coming down in sheets."

Moorhouse had made the 10-hour drive to Chicago for the game with a group of friends and was staying at a friend's house in the city. The group had seats around the 20-yard line, but headed for cover when the tornado warning alert was announced.

Some fans complained the stadium's concession stands were closed during the delay, meaning crowds packed into the concourse couldn't buy food or beer while they waited.

"The biggest upset was when they shut down the beer," said Brian Snyder, owner of B-more Around Town, a company that hosts Ravens tailgates and other Baltimore-area events.

Moorhouse and Snyder both said the Bears fans were welcoming to the Baltimoreans huddled with them for cover.

"People have been civil," Moorhouse said. "I think we only saw one fight."

Snyder, who said he travels for every Ravens away game, said the reception from the Bears fans was one of the warmest of the 18 stadiums he's been to.

"The fans here have been good to us," he said.

Not everyone scrambled for shelter. Several Baltimore fans said they saw someone in a Terrell Suggs jersey running onto the field during the delay before slipping and being taken away by authorities.

Some Baltimore fans in Chicago said they had heard it would be stormy, but hadn't anticipated anything as extreme as a tornado warning. Dave Powell, of Canton, flew to Chicago on Saturday with 10 other fans; the group was staying in a hotel a few blocks away from Soldier Field.

"We knew it was gonna be pretty crazy," he said, of the weather. On the upside, he said, "it's not too cold — around 60."

By all accounts, the evacuation of the stadium seating was orderly. But for Powell and his friends, it was a slow one.

"It took us an hour to get out," he said.

Nabeem Kureishy moved to Chicago from Baltimore for a job a few years ago. The former Parkville resident and his son were in a club section where they had a good view of the weather.

Kureishy said he'd been monitoring Twitter for updates on when the game would resume. "We're waiting for the rainbow," he said during the delay.

After two periods of torrential downpour, the sky suddenly cleared, Snyder said.

"There's not a cloud in the sky," he said just before fans were allowed back into their seats. "It's like two completely different worlds. There's not even a breeze. It got bad; you couldn't even see. I've never seen rain come down like that."

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

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