Looking Back on Weather Extremes for Inauguration Day

Local News

Harlingen, Texas (KVEO) – With Inauguration Day being one of the most pivotal days for the U.S and the rest of the world, weather conditions play an important role on ceremonial activities.


For Inauguration Day 2021, weather conditions in Washington, D.C are going to be cold with temperatures in the 30s in the early morning hours with winds out of the northwest at 20 mph. Breezy conditions are going to cause wind chill temperatures to range from the mid-20s to low 30s! There is also the possibility for light snow flurries at the nation’s capitol. The swearing in ceremony is to take place at 11am Harlingen time and temperatures will warm into the low 40s with partly cloudy skies. Highs in Washington D.C will remain in the low 40s for the rest of the day.

Cloudy skies, showers to keep temperatures mild in the RGV this week

Inauguration Day Weather Extremes

Prior to 1937, presidential inaugurations have occurred in March during the spring season. The first president who was sworn in January was Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 20, 1937. It is important to note that this presidential inauguration was a complete wash out! As morning temperatures in the low 30s, the nation’s capitol received a total rainfall of 1.77 inches.

Weather played a role in one of the most dramatic and tragic presidential inaugurations. According to the National Weather Service, on Inauguration Day in 1841, President William Henry Harrison was sworn in on a very cold and cloudy day. With his speech lasting one hour and forty minutes, he rode a horse to and from the capitol without a hat or overcoat. President Harrison developed pneumonia from a cold he caught on that day and died one month later.

The National Weather Service says that the worst Inauguration weather day was in 1909, when a snow storm dumped 10 inches of snow over Washington with strong winds toppling trees and telephone poles. Weather conditions were so bad that the swearing in ceremony had to be moved indoors.

With official weather records beginning in 1871, the warmest January Inauguration Day was in 1981 for the swearing in of President Ronald Reagan. The temperature was 55 degrees with cloudy skies. Coincidentally, the coldest January Inauguration Day was for the second swearing-in ceremony for President Reagan. Temperatures in the Washington D.C area were a blistering 7 degrees around noon. Wind chills ranged from -15 to -30 degrees below zero!

The warmest March Inauguration day on record was in 1913 for the swearing in of President Woodrow Wilson. Temperatures in the D.C area were 55 degrees with overcast skies. The coldest March Inauguration Day was in 1873 for the second swearing in of President Ulysses S. Grant where temperatures during the morning hours dipping down to -4 degrees and the high temperature only reaching 16.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service

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