Inauguration weather

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:11 PM GMT on January 19, 2009

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Barack Obama won't have the weather as the first concern of his presidency, unlike some of his predecessors. The weather for Tuesday's swearing in ceremony promises to be precipitation-free, with a mix of sun and clouds. With temperatures in the low 30s and a moderate north wind of 10-15 mph, he'll have to bundle up, though. As the afternoon progresses, clouds will dominate for the parade, but the weather at the inauguration promises to be a non-story, unlike some previous occasions:

Most Dramatic and Tragic - 1841:
President William Henry Harrison was sworn into office on a cloudy, windy day, with temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. His speech lasted one hour and 40 minutes, and he rode a horse to and from the Capitol, without wearing a hat or overcoat. Pneumonia developed from a lingering cold he caught on that day and he died just one month later.

Almost as bad - 1853:
President Franklin Pierce was sworn into office during a snowstorm, with temperatures near freezing. Shortly after Pierce took his oath of office, as he began his inaugural address, heavier snow began falling, dispersing much of the crowd and ruining plans for the parade. Abigail Fillmore, First Lady to the outgoing President Millard Fillmore, caught a cold as she sat on the cold, wet, exposed platform during the swearing-in ceremony. The cold developed into pneumonia and she died at the end of the month.

Worst Weather Day - 1909:
President William H. Taft's ceremony was forced indoors due to a storm that dropped 10 inches of snow over the Capital city. The snow and winds began the day before, toppling trees and telephone poles. Trains were stalled, and city streets clogged, bringing all activity to a standstill. Sanitation workers shoveled sand and snow through the night. It took 6,000 men and 500 wagons to clear 58,000 tons of snow and slush from the parade route. Despite the freezing temperatures, howling wind, snow, and sleet, a large crowd gathered in front of the Capitol to view the inauguration, but the weather forced the ceremony indoors. Just after the swearing-in, the snow tapered off.


Figure 1. Inauguration day, 1909. Workers shovel away heavy snow from in front of President Taft's reviewing stand (left). President Taft and wife returning to the White House after the ceremony (right).

The material for this post was taken from an excellent Presidential Inaugural Weather web page put together by the National Weather Service forecast office in Washington D.C. The page has loads more information, for those interested.

Good luck, Mr. Obama!

I'll have a new post on Wednesday.
Jeff Masters

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I'm sorry the record for warmest temperature for a snowfall is actually 47F at LaGuardia airport (not 51).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Surfmom - Glad you were able to take to the waves today

Good night folks
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
In & Out -- got an hour of surf today -- Weather and Water temp. not too cold. It would be a trip to surf while it was snowing --but not enough to ask for it.
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KOTG - Yikes -
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
I believe it has snowed at temps as high as 51 (which is the record).
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:>
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52160
A little out of season - but what the heck
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Public Weather Statement for Tampa Bay Area. Mentions possibility of snow.
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tbw/getprodversionnew.php?&pil=PNS&sid=TBW
Member Since: November 2, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 431
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i've been in many a snow cane sully being borned and raised in newfoundland i've seen more than my share


I bet!

Nor'easters are always at their most intense stage when they make it up that way...

What's the deepest snowpack you've had while there?
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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Does anyone know the conditions necessary for snow. As in warmest temp and dew point.... I know it doesn't have to be freezing.

Try This Link. However it's in Celcius (to convert Farenheit into Celcius, first subtract 32, then multiply by five, then divide the result by 9; the formula would look like C = 5/9 (F - 32) ). However, it's not always accurate, because for example one time it was 7C here at my location in S. Ontario, on October 12, 2006, and it snowed (but that's nothing compared to Fort Erie and Buffalo who got 80 cm (32 in) of snow)!
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i've been in many a snow cane sully being borned and raised in newfoundland i've seen more than my share
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52160
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
surface temps between 35f and 39f
dew points between 28f 33 f
may equal to one or all of the following
ice pellets
small hail
wet snow


Thanks!
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Snowcane shown here



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Quoting FLWeatherFreak91:
Does anyone know the conditions necessary for snow. As in warmest temp and dew point.... I know it doesn't have to be freezing.
surface temps between 35f and 39f
dew points between 28f 33 f
may equal to one or all of the following
ice pellets
small hail
wet snow
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52160
Well, unlike the US, we have about 38 cm (15 in) of snow on the ground right now. Anyone notice the two tropical cyclones that just developed near Madagascar? Also, anyone know when the Inauguration ends, because I would like to know if I'll be watching the last part of it (the Parade) live, or if I'll have to watch the whole thing as a re-run when I get home.
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Add a noreaster to the blizzard - snowcane!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4136
Does anyone know the conditions necessary for snow. As in warmest temp and dew point.... I know it doesn't have to be freezing.
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I wonder, then... If we all start talking about a hurricane, would it then happen? A winter hurricane would certainly be an interesting event, no? :)
snowcane that would be something for sure
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52160
Koritheman,
I would not recommend that one disregards the wisdom of Sea Island Gullah. Gives me the chills just thinking about it.

Press, sometimes it is fun just to thumb one's nose at conventional wisdom. You know - live dangerously ... snow, snow, snow, snow

And as for conjuring up what you speak about, perhaps we should quit talking about global you know what
Quoting severstorm:
just imagine, snow flying around at 100 mph. what next?
Cotillion can tell you about winter gales

Miss Nadia, Hello - and I think you are right.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
263
Hi KEH...I think that was Pottery, he lives way down in the islands.
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Kori....Jamaican tradition says they can pray hurricanes away from their island...and they've had a number of near misses which they would credit to that...
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
just imagine, snow flying around at 100 mph. what next?
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Quoting KoritheMan:


I wonder, then... If we all start talking about a hurricane, would it then happen? A winter hurricane would certainly be an interesting event, no? :)
Ummm.. actually this morning or yesterday, someone was talking about the possibility of something developing - south east Caribbean maybe? Anyone remember?
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
Quoting presslord:
here on the Sea Islands...amongst the Gullah people...there is a belief that events can be 'conjured up' by speaking of them....so...please....quit talking about South Carolina snow....


I wonder, then... If we all start talking about a hurricane, would it then happen? A winter hurricane would certainly be an interesting event, no? :)
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evening all, dont you just like the ring of SNOW in Tampa and next weekend we will be in the mid 70's. gotta love it!!!
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Quoting presslord:
here on the Sea Islands...amongst the Gullah people...there is a belief that events can be 'conjured up' by speaking of them....so...please....quit talking about South Carolina snow....

"speak it into existence"
Do you think the author of "the Secret" spent some time on the islands?

Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
KOG......Shush!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
snow
snow
snow
snow
snow
snow
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52160
I am not allowed anywhere near the taxes...it's strictly the province of the spouse....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
sure about That press? Btw I gave john my contact info.
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
Good catch TampaSpin

Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25485
Quoting zoomiami:
its really deep around here today .... S&I? complaining wife is doing taxes?....


We know I am S&I, we are not to sure how sweet and innocent Presslord is with his taxes
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
Tampa, what are the long range models saying for the next few weeks. in mention of the jet stream? Are we supposed to see another dip in the polar jet?
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
here on the Sea Islands...amongst the Gullah people...there is a belief that events can be 'conjured up' by speaking of them....so...please....quit talking about South Carolina snow....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
251. plywoodstatenative
12:44 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
The momment we get a blizzard in South Florida, I am moving!! Fine with Hurricanes, but snow!!!
Member Since: November 15, 2005 Posts: 16 Comments: 4189
250. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:40 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
actually as of now according to my tap radar wet snow is just entering sc over the extreme nw of the state
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52160
249. zoomiami
12:39 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
its really deep around here today .... S&I? complaining wife is doing taxes?....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 10 Comments: 4136
247. TampaSpin
12:35 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
This just happened about 40 minutes ago........im monitoring of any tidal wave......

Magnitude 5.1 - OFF THE COAST OF BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR
2009 January 19 23:50:47 UTC
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
246. KEHCharleston
12:33 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


KOG did It... I am S&I :)


Then it is KOG, that Floridians should petition for snow.

KOG, remember to skip us here in coastal SOUTH Carolina. Thanking you in advance :)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
245. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:32 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
Quoting Orcasystems:


I see your wish came true..and you sent the snow to Florida
weather ray gun is on full power
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52160
244. presslord
12:28 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
Thank you, ma'am!!!!!!!!! May I have another?!?!?!
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10458
243. Orcasystems
12:26 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
Quoting KEHCharleston:
Skyepony - Hence the expression - Your not in Kansas anymore! I am grateful that I do not live in tornado alley. The occasional small twister is enough for me (shudder).

Aquak9 - Get Orca on it. He's done a pretty good job of scaring up snow so far.


KOG did It... I am S&I :)
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
242. Orcasystems
12:25 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
greetings from the centre of the universe orca


I see your wish came true..and you sent the snow to Florida
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26493
241. Skyepony (Mod)
12:24 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
I hear ya~ I'll take a few more 'canes before I'd move to KS..
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36055
240. TampaSpin
12:24 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
Quoting presslord:
orca....sorry...my spouse keeps calling me away from the 'puter to discuss business...she's working on taxes....and every few minutes she feels compelled to call me into her study and tell me how stupid I am....


You did tell her thank you as you was leaving the room im sure......LOL
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
239. Skyepony (Mod)
12:22 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
I found the Europe has more tornadoes per area article.. What a load.. cute how they near doubled the observed.. KS had more observed tornadoes & it is a much smaller area.

Europe has plenty of tornadoes, perhaps 300 or more a year, according to a study by Nikolai Dotzek, a scientist with the Institute of Atmospheric Physics — in Wessling, Germany.

That figure includes roughly 170 observed tornadoes in 25 countries and an educated guess that about 130 others were not reported because they dropped from the sky too briefly to be observed or landed unseen in unpopulated areas of the continent.

The United Kingdom has the most tornadoes of any European country, about 33 per year. That number jumps to 50 when unreported tornadoes are added.

This makes the United Kingdom the world’s leader in tornadoes based on number of twisters per area of land.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 156 Comments: 36055
238. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:21 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
greetings from the centre of the universe orca
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52160
237. KEHCharleston
12:21 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
Skyepony - Hence the expression - Your not in Kansas anymore! I am grateful that I do not live in tornado alley. The occasional small twister is enough for me (shudder).

Aquak9 - Get Orca on it. He's done a pretty good job of scaring up snow so far.
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 2490
236. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
12:20 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
good evening all
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52160
235. aquak9
12:18 AM GMT on January 20, 2009
KEH- not here in Jacksonville, which just happens to be one of the most NORTHERN cities in Florida. No chance of snow, dag-nabbit.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 163 Comments: 25485

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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.