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Bengals, fans brace for severe weather Sunday during Battle of Ohio

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CINCINNATI -- The Bengals organization says it's ready to handle whatever severe weather Mother Nature throws their way Sunday afternoon during the Battle of Ohio.

The 9 First Warning meteorologists say damaging winds and even isolated tornadoes are possible risks between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Expect southwest winds of 15-25 mph, with gusts of up to 50 mph, especially in the evening hours.

While the Wind Advisory will go into effect at 10 a.m. on Sunday and will last until midnight, the most severe weather is expected to move in during the middle of the game against the Cleveland Browns.

More than 65,000 impassioned people will be in the stands at Paul Brown Stadium at that time, watching the matchup between the Bengals and the Browns, who in addition to being an intrastate rival sit just two games back in the AFC North race.

"I've been cold before, we've been out when it's been snowing, so I'm not really worried about it. I'm just ready for a win," said Alice Gross who was one of several football fans 9 On Your Side reporter Amy Wadas spoke with about their plans for the game.

Like Gross, Scott Gray and aptly named Matthew Bengel say they plan to attend the game in spite of the threat of rain and powerful winds.

"We have thermal underwear, sweatshirts, jackets, I'm ready to go," Bengel said.

Gray said he's not going to let the weather change his game-watching habits -- no matter the conditions.

"My dad's going to bring the poncho but true fans never wear that stuff," he said.

Sam Behler said he thinks his excitement for the potentially rain-soaked affair is matched by the Bengals, who he thinks are prepared to play in less than ideal conditions.

"I think we're absolutely going to be prepared regardless of any sort of weather," he said. "We've won in the wind before, the rain against New England. I think we're going to bring it."

Even though the size of the crowd might seem intimidating, the Bengals organization says it's ready to move each one of them to a safe location if the weather gets too rough.

“Paul Brown Stadium is aware of the potential for inclement at (Sunday's) game, and there are plans in place to address that situation – a practice that is in place for all home games," said Bob Bedinghaus, director of business development for the Bengals organization.

Bedinghaus said Sunday morning that the organization is aware of the 'High Risk' for severe weather. The game will go on as planned, but they are cancelling the band's performance in the Jungle Zone. Bedinghaus says "the stage roof cannot be raised with current wind conditions."

"The stadium will coordinate any required actions tomorrow with local public safety authorities, the National Weather Service and the National Football League. Appropriate communication plans will also be in place to inform and assist patrons at the game, as well as informing the media and the general public.”

Even though it appears many fans still plan to attend the heated contest, the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce has decided to cancel one of the city's most popular weekly pregame events, the Bud Light Tailgate Party at The Banks.

"Safety is always our top priority for these type of events. It's outside, a situation where you're at the mercy of Mother Nature, so it was a no-brainer for us to make sure our folks are safe," said Lancy Barry, public relations manager for Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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