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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate-Watch, Special Inaugural Report January 12, 2001

National Climatic Data Center - (last update Jan 12, 2001)

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Inaugural Ceremony

Historical Inaugural Photo
Benjamin Harrison - March 4th, 1889.
(Click on the image for a larger view)
* Image Courtesy Library of Congress

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January Inaugural Weather and Climate Facts

  • Average Noon Temperature when a Republican President is sworn in is 40.4 F.
  • Average Noon Temperature when a Democratic President is sworn in is 33.0 F.
  • Average high temperature is 41-45 F.
  • Average low temperature is 24-28 F.
  • Average noon time conditions are about 37 F with partly cloudy skies and a wind speed near 10 MPH.
  • There is about a 1 in 6 chance of precipitation during the inaugural event.
  • There is only about a 1 in 20 chance of snow during the inaugural ceremony.
  • There is about a 3 out of 10 chance that there will be snow already on the ground from a previous snowfall.
Climate Data for January 20

Normal High
Normal Low
Record High
Record Low
Record Precipitation
Record Snow
70°F in 1951
-2°F in 1985
1.77 inches in 1937
3.8 inches in 1975

Top of PageInauguration Day Weather

The greatest temperature contrast between two consecutive inaugurals occurred in 1981 and 1985. The January 20th inaugural of 1981 was the warmest January inauguration with a noon time temperature of 55 degrees. In contrast on Jan 21st, 1985 the noon temperature was only 7 degrees and wind chill temperatures were in the -10 to -20 degree range.

Historical Daily Time Series

Maximum Temperature Time Series
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These images present time series of both the maximum and minimum temperatures recorded at the Washington-Reagan airport near downtown Washington, D.C. Since 1946, the warmest January 20th occurred in 1951 when the mercury soared to 70 degrees.
Minimum Temperature Time Series
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The lowest January 20th minimum temperature was -2 in 1985. The inaugural in 1985 was held on the 21st of the month which was even colder at -4 F.

Top of Page Chronological Table of Recent January Inaugurations

Year President Noon
1997 Bill Clinton 34°F Partly sunny with a high overcast. Winds southerly at 7 mph. Max 45 / Min 21.
1993  Bill Clinton 40°F Sunny and pleasant, light winds Max 44 / Min 22.
1989 George Bush  51°F Mostly cloudy, mild and windy, NW 15 MPH, Max 52 / Min 34.
1985 Ronald Reagan 7°F Jan21: Sunny but bittery cold. Northwest winds 20 MPH with wind chill temperatures in the -10° to -20°F range in the afternoon. Max 17 / Min -4.
1981 Ronald Reagan 55°F Mostly cloudy, breezy and mild. Northerly winds 9 MPH. Max 56 / Min 38.
1977 Jimmy Carter 28°F Sunny, Windy and cold. Northerly winds 15 MPH with wind chill temperature in the teens. Max 33 / Min 20.
1973 Richard Nixon 42°F Cloudy and windy. Northwest winds 15 MPH. Max 46 / Min 31.
1969 Richard Nixon 35°F Cloudy and cool, rain and sleet at night. Max 39 / Min 33.
1965 Lyndon B. Johnson 38°F Cloudy and breezy, one inch of snow lay on the ground. Southerly winds 14 mph. Max 46 / Min 25.
1961 John F. Kennedy 22°F Snow into the early morning left 8 inches on the ground otherwise sunny windy and cold the rest of the day. Winds NW 15 MPH. Max 26 / Min 19.
1957 Dwight D. Eisenhower 44°F Jan. 21: Light snow in the early morning. Cloudy skies with a few flurries in the mid afternoon. Max 46/ Min 34.
1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower 49°F Mostly cloudy and fairly mild. Max 54 / Min 40.
1949 Harry S. Truman 38°F Mostly sunny and windy. Max 43 / Min 30.
1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt 35°F Light snow ended around 9 a.m. that morning otherwise Mostly Cloudy. Max 36 / Min 27.
1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt 29°F Sunny, but cold with a brisk wind. Wind chill 10°F. Max 42 / Min 25
1937 Franklin D. Roosevelt 33°F Cold with heavy rain. Between 11 am and 1 pm, 0.69 inches of rain fell.  Some sleet and freezing rain fell in the morning. Total precipitation was 1.77 inches. Max 41 / Min 33


"The Weather of Inauguration Day" by Patrick Hughes, ESSA, Environmental Data Services, 1968.  (ESSA became NOAA in 1970.)
Most tabular data provided by NOAA's National Weather Service Washington Forecast Office.

For further information, contact:

Tom Ross
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4328
Specific requests for climatic data should be addressed to:

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