LONDON — It's voting day, and once again, the Brits are talking about the weather — this time for a reason. After all, it may just be the weather that decides the future of Britain's relationship with the European Union.
People are heading to the polls to choose whether to remain in the 28-nation bloc, but rain showers and massive flooding have caused logistical chaos for voters, potentially preventing thousands from casting their vote.
This is particularly bad news for the “remain” campaign, which has been scrambling in the final days before the referendum to galvanize its more apathetic supporters to come out and vote.
The latest polls show a neck-and-neck split between the two camps, with a slight edge for "remain." But according to YouGov pollsters, supporters of the “leave” campaign are unlikely to be deterred, come hell or high water.
In southwest London, local media reports that two polling stations have been closed because of flash floods. And 1,343 eligible voters who planned on using the polling station at Shiraz Mirza Community Center in Old Malden, now have to go to another polling site on Lawrence Avenue. Another 2,806 people at Devon Way also had to switch when their polling station was surrounded by deep water. Even though the water from the flooding prevented some people from casting their ballot, others used social media to encourage people to to head to the polls.
— GGH&S (@GallowglassHS) June 23, 2016
The Council is looking at the possibility of moving Polling stations which are now inaccessible due to flooding
— New Malden FocusTeam (@NewMaldenFocus) June 23, 2016
The horrible weather comes as no surprise. The Met Office, Britain’s national weather service, announced Wednesday a “yellow warning” for Greater London and much of southeast England, an area of the country that is solidly “remain” territory. (The most Euroskeptic communities in Britain tend to be in the north, the Midlands and Cornwall).
The weather warning read, “Although many areas will probably miss them, scattered but potentially intense thundery downpours seem likely to affect parts of the warning area from late Wednesday and through Thursday.
“Please be aware of possible localized medium impacts from either flooding or frequent lightning.”
— Met Office (@metoffice) June 22, 2016
One “remain” official told the Telegraph, “This is the biggest decision our country will take for a generation but one of the few things not on the ballot paper is the British weather.”
If the weather determines the outcome of the Brexit vote, it will absolutely be something worth talking about, for years and years to come.