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GOP candidates plead for Iowa caucus turnout as temperatures plunge to -45F

Republican presidential hopefuls have pleaded with voters to brave icy conditions in Iowa, as temperatures plunge to a record-breaking low.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), wind chill is set to push temperatures as low as -45 Fahrenheit – described as “life-threatening”.

“Northwest winds have ushered in Arctic cold air with current temperatures well below zero and wind chills in the 30s and 40s below zero,” the forecaster said.

“This extreme Arctic air combined with breezy to strong winds will continue to create dangerous temperatures and wind chills through early next week, with wind chill values as low as 45 below zero possible at times.”

Though blizzard warnings and winter weather advisories have ended, the NWS urged the public to continue checking road conditions prior to any travel in and around Iowa.

At such temperatures, officials warn that frostbite can occur within 10 minutes of outdoor exposure, bad news for Iowans waiting in line to caucus.

Wind chill is set to push temperatures as low as -45 Fahrenheit in Iowa – described as ‘life-threatening’ by the National Weather Service (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Wind chill is set to push temperatures as low as -45 Fahrenheit in Iowa – described as ‘life-threatening’ by the National Weather Service (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Despite the extreme conditions, GOP candidates urged potential supporters to remain vigilant.

In a short video posted online, a windswept Nikki Haley told voters: “It’s Caucus time, I know it’s cold but we need you out there. Wear some layers, bring your ID and bring your friends, we can do this.”

The extreme cold began Friday afternoon as heavy snow blanketed Iowa, bringing low temperatures and conditions that caused most campaigns to cancel events across the state.

Frontrunner Donald Trump had to cancel two commit to caucus events on Saturday because of the low temperatures – opting to host tele-rallies instead. The former president reportedly said the poor conditions could play in his favour, by stifling support for his rivals.

A final poll, conducted by NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom shows the former president commanding 48 per cent of the vote, with Ms Haley taking 20 per cent and Ron DeSantis on 16 per cent.

"We won’t lose one vote, because our people, they use the term, ‘walk on glass.’ They’re not going to stay away. They’re going to, ‘walk on glass’,” Mr Trump reportedly told his campaign, per CBS.

Mr DeSantis told reporters on Friday: "There’s a machinery that goes with a caucus, no matter what, but especially now with what the weather is going to be like, we have that infrastructure there.”