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> Weather History Thread w/pics, Stories on past weather events
NorEaster07
post Jan 21 2017, 06:49 AM
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Kennedy inauguration 1961.





http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalwe...r_the_case.html






QUOTE
8 inches of snow fell and caused the most crippling traffic jam (for its time). Hundreds of cars were marooned and thousands of cars were abandoned. The president-elect had to cancel dinner plans and, in a struggle to keep other commitments, is reported to have had only 4 hours of sleep. Former President Herbert Hoover was unable to fly into Washington National Airport due to the weather and he had to miss the swearing-in ceremony.

On the eve of John F. Kennedy's inauguration (January 19, 1961), the Weather Bureau's morning forecast (shown above) called for the evolution of a nasty mix of precipitation. Snow was predicted to begin in the morning, change to rain in the afternoon and then back to snow overnight before ending early Inauguration Day morning. But in actuality, all snow fell, and a large amount in a short period of time.

As the weather map above shows (left panel), on January 19, low pressure developing in Tennessee Valley interacted with a large Arctic air mass over the Eastern third of the country. Note the big area of high pressure over Canada -- providing the cold air supply critical for snow. As the low headed eastward, snow began to fall in the middle of the afternoon. At the same time, temperatures quickly dropped below freezing. The temperature dropped from 34 to 28 degrees between 3 and 4 p.m. at National Airport as the snow picked up.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the snow became so heavy that afternoon that federal workers were released from work early:

[Federal workers] mixed with scores of inaugural visitors, and a monumental traffic jam ensued. Throughout the region, thousands of vehicles ran out of gas or were abandoned. Pre-Metro public transportation came to a grinding halt.

The snow intensified as a secondary storm developed off the North Carolina coast, tapping abundant moisture from the ocean. According to National Weather Service records, visibility in snow at Reagan National Airport was a half mile or less between 3 and 9 p.m. and snowfall rates were likely in the range of 1-2 inches per hour (0.85" liquid equivalent fell during this time).

Snow continued overnight as the storm moved up the coast as shown in the right panel above. The snow was lighter and more intermittent, but temperatures plunged through the 20s and winds increased to 20-25 mph.
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