Breaking Down The Biggest Weather Events During Presidential Inaugurations

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Those attending the inauguration tomorrow will need the wet weather gear with rain arriving in the Washington, D.C., area around noon. The temperature, though, will be mild near 50 degrees.

The weather has always played an important role in presidential inaugurations ever since they were first moved outside.

President James Monroe had the honor of the first outdoor ceremony in 1817, and since then many extreme weather events have affected Inauguration Day activities.

William Henry Harrison is remembered as the president with the shortest tenure in history. He didn’t wear a coat on his cold and windy Inauguration Day in March 1841, catching a cold and then dying of pneumonia just one month later.

The snowiest weather occurred on March 4, 1909, during President William H. Taft’s inauguration. The ceremony had to be moved indoors as 10 inches of snow fell on Washington and winds toppled trees and downed telephone poles.

Presidential inaugurations were held in early March until 1937, when they were moved to Jan. 20. This didn’t bode well for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. During his second inauguration in 1937, 1.77 inches of rain fell, still a record for Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C., and the wettest inauguration ever.

President Ronald Reagan had both the warmest and the coldest January inaugurations. Reagan took his first oath outside in a mild 55 degrees, whereas his second swearing-in, in 1985, had to be moved indoors with a temperature of only 7 degrees and a windchill as low as 20 below.

Arguably, the worst weather was endured in 1929, when a heavy rain began just before the oath of office was administered to Herbert Hoover. By the time he completed his inaugural address, Hoover’s face was beaded with water and his suit was wringing wet.

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