Standing, Watching, Waiting, and Freezing
So I ventured to the Mall at 6 a.m. this morning - knowing full well what to expect having been forecasting cold today for the past two weeks.
Layers of clothing? Check.
Thick socks? Check.
Warm coat, hat, gloves, scarf? Check.
Was it still cold? Check. Check. Check.
I learned the hard way that no matter how much you bundle up, it's nearly impossible to stay warm at an outdoor event when you primarily stand, watch, and wait. So I did what could to stay warm: jogged in place, roamed around the crowds, purchased some hand warmers to insert in my gloves and, at last, left early.
I was among the thousands who left the ceremony prior to the Benediction. But others didn't even last that long.
From Post reporter Matt Zapotosky:
Lannis and Gwen Thomas and Monica and Dana Pittman came all the way from St. Petersburg, Fl., by way of charter bus, then stood in the crowds at the mall for nearly 4 hours. But just after 11 a.m., the freezing temps drove the Floridians back to a shuttle bus. As they trudged back to their charter bus in the RFK parking lot, they were resigned to miss the inauguration entirely.
"It was just too cold, just too cold for us," Gwen Thomas said. "It should have been in a closed area somewhere."
While an inconvenience and/or comfort issue for many, the cold has contributed to serious health issues for some. About 143 calls for service have come into the D.C. Fire and there have been scores of hospital admissions according to the Inauguration Watch blog.
On the other hand, some people were able to shake off the cold. As Twitter poster hidefJohn wrote: " It was so damn cold but SO worth it!" Search "DC Cold" on Twitter for more reactions to the cold...
The cold will only get worse this evening, so take extra care to prepare for the elements. Limit your time in the cold, and if you have to be out for long periods of time, keep your body moving...
Back in from the cold? Tell us about your experiences. How did you stay warm, or are you still thawing out?
| January 20, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
Categories: Inauguration, Inauguration Features | Tags: inauguration weather
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