NOTRE DAME, Ind. -

Heavy rain and a chance for thunderstorms is the story for fans headed to Notre Dame stadium Saturday.

If severe weather strikes during the game against the Rice Owls, fans will have to clear out of the stadium.

The Normile family drove 11-and-a-half hours from New Jersey to get to Notre Dame's first game of the season.

"Even though they're not as excited, I'm bustin' at the seams," says Bill Normile of his two daughters, Mackenzie and Megan. "I was up at 4:30 this morning all ready to go."

Ready to go, rain or shine - the Normiles aren't letting the forecast ruin their good time.

"If there's no lightning, we'll be good," Bill says. "We're not going to melt."

Other fans aren't worried yet, either - they're just focused on what they came for: Irish football.

"Typical South Bend weather, we really don't care about the weather, we care about that Irish football team," says Bill Weissinger, a Class of '73 alumnus who drove 12 hours from New York.

But football is actually not the most important thing this Saturday, says Director of Game Day Operations Mike Seamon.

"Our number-one priority on Game Day, our number-one priority is the safety of our fans and everybody in the stadium," Seamon says. "So when we have severe weather in the area, our priority is them."

Three years ago, during the season-opened against South Florida, fans were forced to evacuate not once, but twice because of lightning. Those are the only two times in Notre Dame football history that those actions had to be taken.

"We had strong weather predicted all week, watched it, knew it was coming - similar to this week," Seamon explains. "It ended up being right during the game and we evacuated the stadium."

The plan is the same this season: if lightning strikes within 10 miles, fans will hear an announcement over the speaker system.

They can either go under the stands in the concourses to wait out the bad weather, or head to a nearby campus building.

But if rain is the only issue, no evacuation needed.

"Always prepared, just like the Irish!" says Weissinger, showing off his umbrella clipped to his belt.

Large umbrellas and any other rain gear is allowed in the stadium. The University asks that fans hold their rain gear in their arms when entering the stadium. Large backpacks or duffel bags are not allowed in.

Kickoff is around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

For a list of what you can and cannot bring into Notre Dame stadium, visit http://gameday.nd.edu/experience/notre-dame-stadium/stadium-policies/.