Published: January 17,2017
Washington D.C. will see rain and warmer-than-average temperatures Friday for the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
(D.C. Weather: Hourly Forecast | Radar)
The culprit for the soggy weather conditions Friday is an approaching low-pressure system and its attendant cold front. Southerly winds ahead of that low may also propel Friday's high temperature to among the mildest readings for a January Inauguration Day since they began in that month in 1937. Prior to that year, inaugurations were held in March.
Friday's Weather Map
- Friday's Wet Outlook: Rain is forecast to arrive by late morning or early afternoon, and could fall during the 12 p.m. EST swearing in ceremony. Periods of showers may continue through the afternoon and into the early evening.
- Friday's Temperature Outlook: Temperatures will rise from the 40s Friday morning to the low 50s in the afternoon.
- Saturday's Weather Overview: For the March on Washington Saturday, weather conditions appear that they will improve as weak high pressure arrives. Skies are forecast to be mainly cloudy early with a high temperature in the upper 50s or low 60s. Skies may begin to clear later in the day.
Hourly Weather Forecast
Inauguration Day Weather Perspective and History
Large Range of TemperaturesOf the 20 inaugurations that have taken place in January since 1937, only two have featured high temperatures as warm as the 50s, according to information collected by the National Weather Service (NWS).
The warmest of those was Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1981 when it was 55 degrees. The second warmest was 51 degrees for the inauguration of George H.W. Bush in 1989.
A vast majority of Inauguration Days have seen temperatures in the 30s and 40s. That is close to Washington D.C.'s average high temperature of 43 degrees at this time in late January.
Ronald Reagan's second inauguration in 1985 was the coldest on record with a high temperature of seven degrees accompanied by bitter cold wind chills in the minus-10 to minus-20 degree range.
Rain and Snow FrequencyPrecipitation in the form of rain, sleet or snow has occurred in six of the 20 January inaugurations since 1937.
Those occurrences have been fairly infrequent since the 1973 inauguration. Since that year, just one has featured precipitation, and that was George W. Bush's 2001 inauguration which was cool and wet.
Precipitation was observed on Inauguration Day in the following years prior to 1973: Nixon in 1969 (rain, sleet later in the day); Kennedy in 1961 (snow in the morning with 8 inches on the ground); Eisenhower in 1957 (snow in the morning); Roosevelt in 1945 (snow ended at 9 a.m.); Roosevelt in 1937 (heavy rain).
Worst Weather Inauguration
This photo shows William H. Taft and his wife returning to the White House in the snowy conditions.William H. Taft's inauguration in March 1909 had the worst weather conditions, according to the NWS.
Snow and strong winds impacted the Washington area both the day before and the day of the inauguration, forcing the ceremony indoors. The 10 inches of snow that fell brought train travel on streets to a halt as winds knocked down trees.
It reportedly took 6,000 men and 500 wagons to clear snow along the parade route.