Home / National News / Inauguration Weather Forecast Looks Rainy, but It Could Be Worse


(WASHINGTON) —  Friday is Inauguration Day, and many may be wondering what kind of weather Washington, D.C. will see, since it is mid-January, after all.

Well, the good news is temperatures will not be harsh or frigid; they will be on the mild side for the middle of winter, with highs nearly reaching 50 degrees. That means there are no worries of snow, ice or dangerous winter conditions. The bad news is there is a chance of rain throughout much of the day.

Inaugural celebrations begin at 9:00 a.m. Temperatures will be at their coldest of the day, in the upper 30s, but gradually rising. A brief hit of rain is possible right before and just at the start of the ceremony.

By noon, temperatures are up to the mid 40s, approaching that mild 50 degree mark. After a brief lull in the rain for the mid-morning hours, steadier rain moves in around noon.

Moderate rain is possible from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. After 3 p.m., some brief heavy downpours are possible, just as the parade is about to start. The beginning of the parade may be a bit soggy, but shortly after, the rain should clear up and the rest of the afternoon and evening look dry.

This certainly is not the worst weather that ever happened on Inauguration Day. As recently as eight years ago, for Barack Obama’s first inauguration, it was a freezing 28 degrees with wind chills in the mid-teens. Looking back in history, the coldest inauguration was in 1985 when it was only 7 degrees as Ronald Reagan became president. The wind chills fell to -10 to -20 degrees below zero that day.

But it could have been worse. The worst weather for an inauguration was in 1909 when President William H. Taft’s ceremony was forced indoors as a major storm continued to drop 10″ of snow in the city. The storm began the night before causing downed trees, telephone polls, crippling traffic jams and essentially brought the capital city to a standstill. It took 6,000 men and 500 wagons to clear 58,000 tons of snow from the parade route.

Another terrible, and this time tragic, weather Inauguration Day was in 1841 when President William Henry Harrison was sworn in on a very cold and very windy day. His speech lasted nearly two hours outdoors and he then rode his horse without a hat or coat. After being in such harsh conditions, he developed a cold, eventually led to pneumonia. He passed away a month later.

Severe winter weather is always a possibility in the nation’s capitol on Inauguration Day since it falls in January. Although it might rain a little bit on the parade this time around, it could have been much worse.

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