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In past elections, we’ve lucked out with tame weather

There hasn’t been much drama with the weather on past Election Days in Roanoke

Election Day weather records in Roanoke
Election Day weather records in Roanoke (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – Despite some chilly temperatures Tuesday morning, the weather has panned out pretty well for anyone looking to hit the polls and vote this Election Day. This is a trend we’ve seen on most Election Days in southwest and central Virginia when the presidential race is on the ballot.

I will note that the Flood of ’85 was on Election Day, but that was not a presidential election year. We’re digging into the numbers for years where voters were picking a president, which is when turnout is typically the highest.

We have Roanoke’s weather data for 26 out of 27 Election Days, dating back to 1912. 1916′s data is missing from the NOAA Regional Climate Centers' database.

Let’s talk heat first. There have been seven Election Days with a high peaking at or higher than 70 degrees, including four years ago when President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. The hottest Election Day in Roanoke was in 2004, when George W. Bush won re-election against John Kerry. We hit 82 degrees on that day.

This morning’s chill was really not THAT close to record-breaking for an Election Day in our area as we unofficially dropped to 41 degrees. In fact, the record low was a frigid 20 degrees, which occurred when John F. Kennedy beat out Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. In total, seven Election Days started at temperatures at or below freezing.

Southwest Virginia voters have been pretty lucky when it comes to rain as the official rain gauge in Roanoke has only recorded measurable rain on 23% (six of 26) of Election Days. The rainiest was far and away the 1972 presidential election, when Nixon was re-elected over George McGovern.

Snow has never been a concern in the Star City on days when the presidential race is being contested.

About the Author:

Justin McKee presents the weather forecast on 10 News Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6 to 8 a.m. He also fills in for other meteorologists during the week.