Midterms 2018: Tornado forecast for election day 'could play a big role' in outcome
Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee expected to be worst hit
Forecasters are monitoring conditions for a extreme weather that could sweep through the US early next week, impacting a string of high-profile elections as it does.
“It’s still too early to identify location and duration and potential intensity,” Patrick Marsh, a warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, told NBC News
“But extreme weather could play a big role on voting.”
Numerous severe storms are expected in the southeast on Monday, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee, according to diagram issued by storm prediction organisation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
A close race is expected in Tennessee, where former Democratic governor Phil Bredesen is running for a Senate seat against Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn.
Polls are also close in nearby Georgia, where Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp are both running for governor.
The NOAA said in an alert issued on its website: “There is an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms from a portion of the lower Mississippi Valley into the Tennessee Valley.
“Numerous severe storms with potential for damaging wind and tornadoes are expected Monday evening into the overnight from a portion of the lower Mississippi Valley into the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys.
“Primary change to previous outlook for Monday has been to expand the severe risk areas farther north and east based on latest trends in model guidance.”
The NOAA went on to say supercells – a type of rotating thunderstorm – were likely to develop on Monday afternoon initially over the lower Mississippi Valley into the Tennessee Valley
It added there was “a threat for mainly damaging wind and tornadoes, though some hail will also be possible”.
The last time a large scale US political event was hit by extreme weather was in 2008, when a “Super Tuesday” outbreak left 75 people dead as voters in 24 states headed to the polls in caucuses and primaries for a presidential election.