Iowans are preparing for the coldest state caucus on record, with several inches of snow and arctic temperatures across the state on Monday.
The caucus is a much-anticipated event considered the beginning of the presidential election season. The Iowa Republican caucuses will determine how many of the state’s 40 Republican National Convention delegates each candidate will get.
However, this year’s Iowa Republican caucus won’t be much of a nail-biter, as former president Donald Trump is the front-runner, according to several polls. Meanwhile, the other Republican candidates, like Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy, will likely be in a race for second place.
Nearly all of Iowa is under a wind chill warning through caucus day into Tuesday, with some regions reaching as low as –35F (-37C). The National Weather Service said the temperatures are “life-threatening” and capable of causing frostbite in just ten minutes.
Amid these dangerous conditions, former president Donald Trump told Iowa Republicans to vote even if they are “sick as a dog” and that voting would still be “worth it” even if people “passed away.”
The coldest wind chills are expected to hit Monday through Tuesday morning, just when Iowa residents will be travelling to their caucus locations throughout the evening.
Meteorologists are forecasting light snow later in the week, far less than last week when Iowans saw more than a foot in some regions.
Meanwhile, the state saw several inches of snow, high winds and dangerous travel conditions as residents prepared for the caucuses last week.
Weather-related car crashes were reported throughout last week. The Iowa State Patrol posted on X to warn against travel, sharing images of a patrol car struck from behind on Interstate 80 with several inches of snow on the ground.
Several Republican candidates were braving last week’s storm ahead of the caucses. Former president Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley have been invited to a debate on Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Ms Haley also held a campaign event in Waukee, Iowa on Tuesday morning amid several inches of snow.
Air travel across the US is also taking a hit, with thousands of delays and cancellations over the past weekend and into this week. However, it’s unclear if these conditions will persist into next week.