While a big chunk of the country spends this Election Day mainly dry and peaceful on the weather front, a storm system is throwing heavy rain and mountain snow at California.
Outside California, just small pockets of the Lower 48 will see weather troubles:
Subtropical Storm Nicole expected to hit Florida near hurricane strength
Temperatures are mainly friendly for November, except for parts of Montana and the northern Plains, where it’s frigid, and where rain and snow are falling in California.
Historically, it is believed that bad weather on Election Day tends to favor the party with the most reliable voters. In the past, that metric has largely benefited Republicans. There is considerable question as to how much weather really impacts the vote, particularly now with early and mail-in voting being so widespread.
Here’s a look at region-by-region conditions:
Perhaps the main area of weather concern for voters is along the West Coast, and particularly California. Accompanying the storminess, record cold afternoon temperatures are expected in much of California and parts of the Pacific Northwest.
A MODERATE risk is in effect in our Day 1 Excessive Rainfall Outlook. More details: https://t.co/FQU5sb4jjg pic.twitter.com/T5QQ6LIwJ9
Rainfall rates of half an inch to an inch per hour are possible in central and southern California, with the heaviest activity anticipated in the afternoon and evening. This has caused the National Weather Service to highlight the region under a moderate — Level 3 of 4 — risk for excessive rainfall.
Election week storm in California will effectively end fire season
Rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are a good bet for a big chunk of the coastal/valley zone, with up to 2 to 5 inches at higher elevations. In the highest mountains, very heavy amounts of snow are forecast. Parts of the Sierras could see several feet on Tuesday and six feet or more from the storm overall.
Temperatures range from the 50s and 60s at lower elevations to near or below freezing in the mountains. Record-low high temperatures are possible through California’s Central Valley and the Bay Area with temperatures in the 50s, and around Seattle where highs are expected to reach the 40s.
Additionally, strong to damaging winds are a risk in and around the Los Angeles area, focused on higher elevations where gusts of 60-75 mph are likely, according to the Weather Service.
Montana gets a mention because it’s going to be unusually cold. Some snow is also forecast in parts of the state and adjacent states.
Great Falls, near where the northern Plains and the Rockies meet, plummeted to 1 degree this morning amid light snow.
Election Day live updates
Given the very cold conditions and snowfall, some dangerous travel is ongoing in western Montana and southwest into parts of the northern Rockies. This may persist in some form through the day.
8:42p 11/7: Wet & slushy roads will freeze overnight over south central MT. Expect treacherous driving conditions through much of Tue. Remember that bridges & overpasses will be the first locations to become icy. Slow down, expect icy conditions, & turn off cruise control. #mtwx pic.twitter.com/qUWkh7u9FL
The predicted high temperatures ranging from the single digits to the 20s in most of Montana are some 20 to 40 degrees below average. Highs in the 20s and 30s continue eastward across much of North Dakota, parts of South Dakota and northern Minnesota.
A push of warm air is advancing through the southern and central Plains out ahead of the Western U.S. storm.
Other than areas of showers focused on Oklahoma and Minnesota, much of the zone from the Plains to the Midwest is dry. Locations that see rain could pick up as much as an inch in the southern Plains and a quarter inch in the Upper Midwest.
High temperatures 15 to 20 degrees above normal cover a wide swath from near Denver to Des Moines and Chicago in the north and into Texas and Arkansas in the south. This translates to 70s and 80s south, 60s and 70s central, and 50s and 60s north.
Florida is the lone area of concern in this region.
Strengthening Subtropical Storm Nicole throws occasional rainbands at the Sunshine State on Tuesday, with increasing odds as the day wears on. Some localized heavy downpours are possible, but the more persistent rain and wind should hold off until Wednesday.
The storm will also contribute to a strengthening onshore flow in much of the Southeast, which is most acutely felt near the coast. Wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph should be pretty common from the Carolinas to the east coast of Florida by evening. Some spots could gust higher.
Otherwise, it’s mainly clear sailing, with plentiful sunshine and temperatures largely in the 80s in the southern part of the region, with 70s and 60s on the northern periphery toward Tennessee and North Carolina. Following days of record heat, a handful of additional warm weather records may be set across the Deep South.
November feels like September as warm weather shatters records in East
After a seasonably cool start to Election Day, most of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast end up bathed in sunshine.
High temperatures are in the 40s and 50s across New York and New England, warming to the 50s and 60s in the Mid-Atlantic. Wind chills do feel about 5 to 10 degrees cooler, which might be a bit of a shock given recent warmth.
Readings here drop off about 10 degrees by the times polls close this evening.