Polar vortex threatens to disrupt Iowa caucuses
Near-blizzard conditions are colliding with GOP primary candidates' final push ahead of the 2024 Iowa caucuses, forcing campaigns to cancel events and change plans.
Why it matters: Forecasted frigid weather for next week could also dampen voter turnout on caucus day on Monday, local analysts say.
- Iowa is under a winter storm warning as 6–12 inches of snow are expected across its central and southeastern regions through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
- The run-up to the caucuses coincides with one of the most active periods of winter weather in recent memory, Axios extreme weather expert Andrew Freedman reports.
- The snow is expected to be followed by a polar vortex that lingers through caucus day, with single-digit temperatures for the highs and below-zero overnight lows.
- Vivek Ramaswamy will drive to his campaign events this week rather than his typical private plane rides.
- Blowing snow with winds gusting as high as 40 mph are expected Tuesday, reducing visibility.
Zoom in: More frigid temperatures next week could dampen caucus turnout, especially for Trump supporters who assume he's already ahead, local Democratic political consultant Jeff Link tells Axios.
- Poor weather is most likely to negatively impact turnout among older Iowans, said Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State.
- That could disproportionately affect Trump too, Link says, as the former president's supporters likely skew older than voters for Haley and Ron DeSantis.
Zoom out: Iowa's winter caucuses are no stranger to weather disruptions, Schmidt says.
- "Weather is the No. 1 caucus turnout problem."
Axios' Sophia Cai contributed reporting.