Jan 13, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Iowa's frigid forecast: Coldest caucus weather in decades

Temperatures in select Iowa cities on caucus dates
Reproduced from AP; Table: Axios Visuals

Former President Trump said in a video message ahead of the Iowa caucuses that he expects to arrive in the Hawkeye State Saturday night despite the brutally cold weather.

Why it matters: While Trump is the anticipated GOP favorite for president, many look to the state caucuses on Monday to gauge how much competition Trump's top rivals Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley pose.

What he's saying: "One way or the other, I'm getting there," Trump said.

More info: The final Iowa poll before the caucuses is set to be released Saturday night, according to the Des Moines Register. The newspaper worked with NBC News and Mediacom on the poll measuring caucus attendees' first and second picks for president.

What to watch: Freezing temperatures and strong winds foreshadow possibly life-threatening conditions for Monday night, when caucuses begin at 7 p.m. CT, per the National Weather Service Des Moines.

  • Caucus night temperatures in areas across the state are expected to dip to single-digit negatives, a chill the state hasn't experienced in at least four decades on caucus night.
  • "Arctic air will continue to bring dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills today through Tuesday," NWS Des Moines posted on X Saturday. "Wind chills are expected to fall to between -35F and -45F."
  • Trump noted expected record cold and snowfall in his video on Friday. "Our people are more committed than anybody else, so maybe it's actually a good thing for us," he said.

Our thought bubble: Axios' Alex Thompson points out that the extreme weather could hurt Trump because many of his supporters are in rural areas, where it'll be harder to travel to caucus sites.

  • And given expectations, lots of people could stay home — assuming Trump will win.

Go deeper: How Trump has gained support with Iowa evangelicals

Go deeper