Bitterly frigid temperatures and subzero wind chills throughout Iowa will test caucusgoer’s willingness to support their favorite presidential candidates today.
The Democrat and Republican caucuses officially kick off at 7 p.m., with doors at most generally opening around 6 p.m. Temperatures in the state won’t be considerate of the voting event.
Monday is expected to be the coldest Iowa Caucus since it began in 1972. The low at the first caucuses was four degrees below zero, with a wind chill of 26 degrees below zero. The high that day was 25 degrees.
The forecast for today calls for a high of zero degrees, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Kerry Schwindenhammer. But temperatures, he said, could feel like 20 to 25 degrees below zero — or even 30 degrees below zero in some spots.
“Many places could be four, five, six, seven degrees below zero, especially when you head into the central and northern parts of the state,” Schwindenhammer told USA TODAY.
⚠️Wind Chill Warnings remain in effect across central IA through Tue morning, with a prolonged stretch of sub-zero temps through that time. 8pm wind chills note readings in the 20s & 30s below zero. Frostbite can occur to exposed skin in 10-30 mins in these conditions. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/vybYKjJCa3
— NWS Des Moines (@NWSDesMoines) January 15, 2024
Schwindenhammer said there will be very little precipitation, with conditions mainly dry with a mix of clouds and sunshine. Snow from last week’s blizzard remains across much of the state, though Schwindenhammer expects conditions will ease today. Winds in northwestern Iowa are expected to move at 10 to 20 mph. However, the arctic air will make being outside brutal nonetheless.
“This kind of cold can be downright dangerous. It’s not a time to go outside and wear a light jacket, you’re going to want to bundle up,” Schwindenhammer said. “Wear all the layers you need to wear in order to stay warm here. And the less time you can spend outdoors, the better.”
Record temperatures were set on Sunday
Des Moines International Airport broke a cold record Sunday at 7:30 a.m., when temperatures dipped to 18 degrees below zero. It was the lowest recorded temperature for a Jan. 14 in Des Moines since 1888, and the lowest temperature recorded since a reading of 20 degrees below zero in January 2019.
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Trump not worried about weather impacting Iowa Caucuses
In Des Moines, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump met with campaign volunteers on Sunday said his supporter’s enthusiasm is no match for the weather. His campaign canceled three of the rallies scheduled in Iowa over the weekend.
“I don’t know, maybe the weather is not going to be that big a deal,” Trump said.
The former president urged voters to caucus for him regardless of the dangerous cold, adding that “even if you vote and then pass away, it’s worth it.”
“If this is any indication, the storm has had zero effect,” Trump said. “You’re very hardy people, I’ve heard that.”
Congresswoman involved in crash on her way to Nikki Haley event
U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ was rear-ended by a semitractor-trailer on Saturday. While she was unhurt, the incident caused her to miss a campaign event where she’d planned to speak for presidential candidate Nikki Haley, her staff said.
She was replaced by U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, who represents northeast Iowa’s 2nd District. Haley held virtual townhalls on Friday due to the storm.
Contributing: John Bacon
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Subzero temps to make coldest caucus on record ‘downright dangerous’
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