An early forecast for Election Day shows mostly benign weather for the big day.
"I don't see any tropical systems or monster snowstorms at this point," AccuWeather long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok told USA TODAY.
However, since it's still almost two weeks away, specifics are hard to pin down. In fact, according to a 2019 study, 10 days is probably the limit of useful weather predictability, University of Georgia meteorologist Marshall Shepherd recently wrote in Forbes.
Still, early indications are that a pair of cold fronts across the eastern half of the U.S. could bring some rain to portions of the East Coast and South on Election Day, Pastelok said.
Elsewhere, it should be pretty chilly in the Plains, Midwest and the Northeast, he said. But no big storms are likely in the Plains and Rockies, unlike what's in the forecast for next week, he said.
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And rain is also likely on Election Day in Northwest cities such as Seattle and Portland, "but it won't have a big impact," he said.
Pastelok was most confident that the southwestern U.S. will be warm and dry on Nov. 3. "The quietest weather will be in the Southwest, where it will be dry with above-normal temperatures."
Does the weather on Election Day really matter?
Yes, Shepherd said, writing in Forbes:
"We know from several studies in the scientific and political science literature that rain, extreme temperatures or hurricanes can impact voter turnout. Some studies suggest that 'bad weather' on Election Day benefits Republicans because it dissuades new or less intense voters, though other studies are less conclusive."
However, because of COVID-19 fears at the polls on Election Day and the resulting surge in early or absentee voting, the weather on Election Day itself could be less important this year than it has been in past presidential elections.
USA TODAY will provide more detailed national weather forecasts as we approach Election Day.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Election Day weather forecast: Will the weather affect voter turnout?