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Election 2016: Rain may dampen Pennsylvania, Maryland primaries next Tuesday

As the 2016 presidential primary season heads into the final stretch, the focus will remain on the northeastern United States on Tuesday, April 26, as five more states hold their respective primaries.

Voters in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut will cast their votes for both Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, and rain is in store for parts of the region.

There will be a zone of rain and cooler weather to the north and dry and mild weather to south, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynoswki said. Rain will dampen much of Pennsylvania, Maryland and portions of Delaware, she added.

Highs are generally expected to be near normal for this time of the year.

Daytime highs will reach the 50s F across Rhode Island with a mix of 50s and 60s for Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Highs will be in the lower to middle 60s across much of Delaware and Maryland. Where there is sunshine to the south, highs may climb into the 70s in Delaware and Maryland.

Weather conditions do have an impact on some voters, but it's usually the air temperature that influences people's decision of whether to head to the polls or not, rather than precipitation, AccuWeather Business Intelligence Manager Rosemary Radich previously said.

For the next slate of primaries, AccuWeather Meteorologist and Business Intelligence Analyst Tim Loftus used L2 to examine weather trends and voter data in election seasons for each state dating back to 1996.

Here is an outlook of how weather factors could play a role in voter behavior next Tuesday.


Warmer air, in particular when temperatures are abnormally higher in the morning, will prompt more voters to head to the polls, Loftus said.

Lotus found that when morning low temperatures are 10 degrees above normal, this would significantly increase turnout in the state.

"This impacts the ages between 55 to 64 the most," he added


Voters in Delaware are most impacted when conditions are cloudy and windy. If conditions turn out to be warm, calm and sunny, a higher voter turnout could be expected compared to 2012, particularly for 55- to 64-year-olds.

"However, 25- to 34-year-olds would likely have a lower turnout when there are more minutes of sunshine," Loftus said.


Voters in the state are positively impacted by pleasant weather, which is defined by comfortable conditions or temperatures above 60 along with a average daily cloud cover at or below 30 percent, Loftus stated.

However, some rain could dampen parts of western Maryland on Tuesday.

"Democrats are particularly sensitive to temperature and enjoy their election day to be relatively warm," Loftus said.

Voter turnout is most negatively impacted when stormy weather precedes election day. Additionally, Loftus' data indicated that higher relative humidity, which is correlated with rainfall, was shown to have a negative impact on Maryland voters from ages 45 to 54.


Rain and cloud cover are possible across much of Pennsylvania, and the weather conditions could be a significant factor in limiting voter turnout.

"Cloud cover and precipitation deter voters in the age group categories 35 to 44 and 25 to 34 respectively," Loftus said. "If conditions stay dry and the cloud cover is less, we can expect more Pennsylvanians to head to the polls."

Near-normal or above-normal temperatures would mean a higher turnout for the Democrats. They should also promote a higher turnout compared to 2012 when low temperatures were lower than they are expected this year, Loftus explained.

Wind is one of the more significant weather metrics when it comes to Pennsylvania and has previously shown to have a negative impact to overall turnout.

"If windy conditions occur on election day, this would likely cause a lower turnout compared to 2012," Loftus said.

Rhode Island

Like in Maryland, voters in Rhode Island are most affected when it's stormy prior to election day. If the weather is inclement before the polls open, this would likely reduce the number of voters compared to 2012.

"Republicans fair better when conditions are wet," Loftus said. "If rain were to fall, the Republican turnout will fare better than the Democrats.

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