This year, we're forecasting quiet weather conditions as voters head out to the polls. In year's past, weather has played an increased roll in determining voting behavior, and even thought to change outcomes in certain election years.
If history proves itself, good weather boosts turnout at the polls. That should be the case this year.
Look for chilly temperatures Tuesday morning if you're getting up early to head to the polls. Polls open at 6 a.m. and temperatures will start out in the upper 20s and low 30s. Clouds increase across the area, but nearly everyone should stay dry Tuesday.
Nationally, a few areas will experiance snow and rain during Election Day (see graphic above).
WHEN WEATHER CHANGES THE ELECTION
There's an old adage that republicans should pray for rain on Election Day.
The 2007 Journal of Politics study may add some insight to that thought. The study examines the effect of weather on voter turnout in 14 U.S. presidential elections. The conclusions are documented
The main thing the study notices is rain and snow on Election Day have a measurable effect on turnout.
According to the study; for every inch of rain that falls above the Election Day average, voter participation falls by nearly 1% and Republican candidates receive an extra 2.5% of the vote.
More precisely, for every one-inch increase in rain above its election day normal, the
Republican presidential candidate received approximately an extra 2.5% of the vote. For every one-inch increase in snow above normal, the Republican candidate's vote share increases by approximately .6%.
ELECTION DAY FLOOD OF 1985
The most dramatic impact weather has had on the election was in 1985 Election Day storm.
The remnants of Hurricane Juan mixed with a low pressure system over southwest Virginia and brought heavy rain from October 31 through November 6, 1985. The result was one of the worst river flood disasters in Virginia’s history.
One of the hardest hit areas was the Roanoke Valley. Rivers and streams were already full after several days of rain when 6 ½ inches of more rain fell on November 4, 1985. That morning, the Roanoke River was already at its 10 foot flood stage. It rose another seven feet in just one hour. The river crested at more than 23 feet later that evening. There were many dramatic helicopter rescues that night.
November 5 was also Election Day. More than 19 polling places had to be moved due to flooding. Many people could not vote because of flooded roads and or polling places which were full of water.