As I’m sure everyone is aware from the nonstop robocalls, TV ads, and barrage of commentary from the news outlet of your choice, Tuesday is election day here in America. No matter which candidates you’re voting for (or against), it’s important that everyone take a few minutes to exercise your right to vote. So much has been sacrificed by so many so that we can enjoy this right, so please, get out there and vote!
7:30 AM EST Sunday Update: Most of the info below from yesterday remains relevant today. If you’re interested in any part of the forecast that’s not the severe weather in the East, scroll down to find yesterday’s original update. My quick addendum this morning will focus more closely on the severe weather that has the potential to cause some significant disruptions for voters on Tuesday.
Here’s a look at our ECMWF thunderstorm composite product for Tuesday morning (left map), Tuesday midday (center map), and Tuesday evening (right map). The threat for severe storms will be greatest north of the blue line (where strong mid/upper level winds are present) and south of the pink line (where instability is non-negligible). In the morning, for folks aiming to vote before work, this combo will be located over NW GA and NE AL. Folks in these areas should be prepared to encounter severe storms with strong winds on the way to/from polling places. If your schedule allows for voting later in the day, I can promise clear skies after the cold front passes! Weaker instability farther north will support some showers and storms, most of which likely won’t be severe. Still, voters in the mountains of NC, VA, KY, and WV will find much nicer weather later in the day after the front clears.
The best combination of instability and strong winds aloft will be found across Central VA, Central NC, and Northern SC during the lunchtime hours on Tuesday. Expect a line of strong to severe storms to move through around this time, with damaging winds being the primary threat. If lunchtime is the only time you can vote, still get out there, just be ready in case you do encounter some storms. If you can rearrange your schedule to vote before or after work, I’d highly recommend that course of action as conditions will be much nicer. Storms will weaken as they approach the coastline in the evening, but some cells may still pack a punch. Be prepared for inclement weather if you’re heading to the polls after work in coastal parts of the Mid Atlantic, but some rumbles of thunder shouldn’t prevent you from fulfilling your civic duty!
I’ll have another update with any changes/further refinements tomorrow.
Original Post (from the evening of Saturday 11/3): Unfortunately, weather conditions won’t be pleasant for everyone heading to the polls on Tuesday. Severe storms in parts of the East and mountain snow in parts of the Rockies will be the two main spots to watch for disruptions. I’ll go over the national forecast in this post, but if you’re looking for detailed info on your town’s forecast, please check out our newly added Rapid ECMWF page at weather.us. There you’ll be able to find hourly forecast info for your town, so you know exactly what to expect as you head out the door. To get your local forecast, type your town’s name into the search box near the top left of the screen. Additionally, our ECMWF overview (Significant Weather) maps are my resource of choice for monitoring trends on a larger scale.
If you’re aiming to hit the polls before work 8 AM EST map shown, here’s a general look at what to expect. Severe thunderstorms will be the factor to watch from parts of the Southeast through the interior Mid Atlantic. Hopefully most polling places will have space to wait inside, but if not, be aware of the potential for dangerous conditions including strong winds and lightning if you’re standing in line outside. For folks in these areas, it’d probably be a good idea to try to vote later in the day (lunchtime or after work) if you can. If that’s not an option, consult with local resources to see if early voting on Monday might be a viable option while the weather is still clear. If you’re headed to the polls in the Northern Rockies, plan for some delays due to snow, but otherwise you should be all set. This incoming storm won’t be too crazy. Rain changing to snow in parts of the Great Lakes may cause some slick spots, but elsewhere little/no impacts from weather are expected.
For the lunchtime voting crowd, here’s a look at conditions at 2 PM EST. Severe storms will be advancing east through the interior Mid Atlantic, creating potentially dangerous conditions in parts of VA, MD, and PA. Again, if you’re able to wait in line inside, you should be all set, but be aware for the potential for damaging winds and lightning as these storms roll through. Weaker and more sporadic storm activity will be found away from the core of the upper level jet stream across the Southeast. Meanwhile, snow will continue in the Rockies with that slushy rain/snow mix persisting across parts of the Great Lakes. In both of these areas, it might take a little longer than usual to get to the polls, but otherwise you should be all set. Clear weather is expected across the rest of the country. Note that if storms inhibited your voting in the morning from MS through GA/TN/NC/KY/WV, lunchtime will be a great time to head to the polls as storms will be off to your east!
For the after work crowd, here’s a general look at the forecast for 6 PM EST. Storms in the east will be weakening as they approach the coastline, while snow will continue in the Rockies and taper off in the Great Lakes. With the severe weather threat on the decline, no major interruptions are expected, though for folks near the coast in the Southeast/Mid Atlantic, it’d probably pay to get your vote in earlier in the day when storm chances are much closer to zero.
As I mentioned above, specific info for what to expect in your town can be found at weather.us via any one of our many tools for getting local forecast info.