Election 2016: Snowstorm to unfold as thousands gather for Iowa Caucuses

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Cold with Snow in East, Late Weekend Warmup

By Mark Leberfinger, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer


After months of campaigning and jockeying for position, the 2016 Presidential Election season officially gets underway Monday, Feb. 1, with the Iowa Caucuses.

Voters from Iowa's 99 counties will meet in caucus as the first step to determine who will represent the state at the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

SEE ALSO: Groundhog Day snowstorm may aim for Denver to Minneapolis

However, a winter storm moving from the Intermountain West is likely to cause snow to spread over a large part of the central and northern Plains during Monday night and Tuesday.

The voting prospects weather-wise could become precarious before the close of the caucuses because of the incoming storm system, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde stated. The heaviest precipitation will arrive in part of the state during Monday night.

The caucuses are scheduled to be begin at 7:00 p.m. CST.

"The storm is likely to bring mostly snow to the western and northern counties of the state with a rain/snow mix in the southeast," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "However, how heavy the precipitation becomes and where the cutoff between rain and snow is will depend on the track of the storm."

During Monday night into Tuesday, temperatures across Iowa will range from the upper 20s F and lower 30s in the northwestern part of the state to the middle 30s to lower 40s in the southeastern counties.

"Roads could become slippery and snow-covered, especially in the western counties," Sosnowski said. "The combination of increasing wind and wet, clinging snow in some areas could lead to sporadic power outages as the storm progresses into Tuesday."

It is possible that those who are out well into the nighttime hours on Monday could get caught in the storm, Sosnowski added.

Hillary Clinton campaigning before Iowa Caucus:

12 PHOTOS
Hillary Clinton campaigning before Iowa Caucus
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Election 2016: Snowstorm to unfold as thousands gather for Iowa Caucuses
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Decorah, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Hoping to persuade undecided Democrats with just a week until the Iowa caucuses, Clinton and Bernie Sanders took on some of the questions that have most dogged their candidacies, from trustworthiness and e-mails to feasibility and socialism. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MARSHALLTOWN, IA - JANUARY 26: A supporter of democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a campaign sign during a 'get out the caucus' event at BR Miller Middle School on January 26, 2016 in Marshalltown, Iowa. With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton is campaigning throughout Iowa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton laughs during a rally at BR Miller Middle School in Marshalltown, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
MARSHALLTOWN, IA - JANUARY 26: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a 'get out the caucus' event at BR Miller Middle School on January 26, 2016 in Marshalltown, Iowa. With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton is campaigning throughout Iowa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Decorah, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Hoping to persuade undecided Democrats with just a week until the Iowa caucuses, Clinton and Bernie Sanders took on some of the questions that have most dogged their candidacies, from trustworthiness and e-mails to feasibility and socialism. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MARSHALLTOWN, IA - JANUARY 26: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a 'get out the caucus' event at BR Miller Middle School on January 26, 2016 in Marshalltown, Iowa. With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton is campaigning throughout Iowa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MARSHALLTOWN, IA - JANUARY 26: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a 'get out the caucus' event at BR Miller Middle School on January 26, 2016 in Marshalltown, Iowa. With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton is campaigning throughout Iowa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CEDAR FALLS, IA - JANUARY 26: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a 'get out the caucus' event at the University of Northern Iowa on January 26, 2016 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton is campaigning throughout Iowa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets a member of the audience after speaking at a rally at Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets members of the audience after speaking at a rally at BR Miller Middle School in Marshalltown, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a question from a member of the audience after speaking at a rally at Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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It's not clear how much of an impact inclement weather plays on caucus turnout, but the old adage that Republicans "pray for rain" turns out to be true in presidential elections, according to a 2007 study in The Journal of Politics.

The study "The Republicans Should Pray for Rain: Weather, Turnout, and Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections" found that as rain and snow increase above their respective election day normals, the better the Republican presidential candidate fared.

For every 1-inch increase in rain above its Election Day normal, the Republican presidential candidate received approximately an extra 2.5 percent of the vote, the study showed.

For every 1-inch increase in snow above normal, the Republican candidate's vote share increases by approximately 0.6 of a percent.

After Iowa, the first-in-the-nation primary will be held Tuesday, Feb. 9, in New Hampshire.

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