Players may not be the only ones scrambling during Saturday's 2:30 p.m. Nebraska football game against Penn State at Memorial Stadium.

Severe weather, with the possibility of lightning and strong winds, could roll through Lincoln in the second half or as more than 86,000 fans leave the game, weather forecasters say.

"Certainly, there is some chance that we will have some strong thunderstorms ... toward the end of the game," said Daniel Nietfeld, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley. "Late afternoon or evening is a better scenario."

Fans will have a mixed bag of weather Saturday as a strong cold front out of the Pacific Northwest cruises through Montana and rolls into Nebraska.

The day is expected to start out warm with temperatures in the 70s by game time but will drop into the 50s and 40s by late evening. South winds are expected to gust up to 30 mph or more.

But earlier in the day, the temperature could hit 80 degrees, breaking the record of 79 set in 1927, said Brian Edwards, a meteorologist for Accuweather.

"It's going to be very warm. Also very breezy, too," said Edwards, who is a Penn State fan. No surprise there. Accuweather and Penn State are both in State College, Pa.

Edwards said there's a 20 to 30 percent chance of strong thunderstorms in the second half of the game, but said the best chance for severe weather is after 6 p.m.

His advice is to dress for warm weather but take along a poncho or other rain gear just in case. Tailgaters also might want to think about shelter.

Nietfeld said the cold front could move through Lincoln quickly.

"It may be a squall line with some wind," he said.

The Lincoln area could get as much as half an inch of rain, and northeast Nebraska could see a few inches of snow late Saturday or Sunday morning, Nietfeld said.

By Sunday, cold air behind the front could plunge temperatures into the 30s, with a high of 37 degrees expected.

Reach Algis J. Laukaitis at 402-473-7243 or